By any measure – unattractive (A Christmas poem)


Emptying self?
Forsaking family?
Losing our life to gain it?
Why do you ask such hard things, Lord?

How do we figure out needs and wants in a Wal-Mart world?
What sort of foolishness is loving enemies and forgiving 70 times 7?
How do we market teaching this in our schools?

How can we see what you want us to see?
Both delighting in ecstasy and bearing brokenness as you modeled for us,
We are simultaneously overloaded and underfed,
Trading the moments of our days for time on screens,
Avoiding the times of loneliness, searching and longing,
Opting instead for hours of mind-numbing activity.

Are we ready to give up our control in a glutted and indulgent society?
Are we lamenting the brokenness we see?
Are we hungry for you, Lord?

Your “good news” asks too much,
It is not attractive or popular,
It makes us a peculiar people, definitely “not cool”
“Be not afraid” you have told us again and again,
Yet as much as we run into dead ends of our own making,
We are reluctant to give up much of our imaginary control of our lives,
Teach us Lord to “cry from the heart and laugh from the belly”* with our world.

We are truly awed at your incarnation – your birth was most unattractive,
Creator of all encapsulated in an uninitiated virgin delivering a bloody birth in a barn.
You have turned our world upside down,
Give us hearts and minds to truly see you,
To reflect on your beauty,
To live and teach your unattractive ways.

You are “the good news to all who would believe. . .”
The foolishness that must be gained by all who would truly live.

*Phrase borrowed from Richard Rohr in Everything Belongs.

Graphic created via Wordle.



Filed under Biblical worldview, distinctively Christian, image of God, student outcomes

12 responses to “By any measure – unattractive (A Christmas poem)

  1. pete post

    Dan, I trust that I am correct in assuming that you wrote this poem and I certainly appreciate the sentiment expressed here. I look forward to making the trek up to Grand Rapids with my interim class from Trinity Christian College to talk with you about Christian education and show you some of our academic game projects. Muddling through my 35th year in Christian education I still struggle with what sort of advice I can give pre-service teachers regarding the inevitable battle they will soon wage with media and the sensationalism of the internet. I would like to read what my students think on this topic and hope they will respond to this post soon.
    Pete Post

  2. Joy VanDerBilt

    This poem is very beautiful. I feel that it expresses what every Christian feels and longs for. It is a perfect blend of the struggles Christians face and of the hope that we have because we believe in something that is bigger and better than this world

  3. Stefanie Prince

    This poem develops the constant battle in which Christians face today. So many times I find myself longing to walk in the light of the Lord but failing multiple times over. I can see myself struggling with each and every questioned asked in this poem. I think it is a great reminder of where my priorities need to lie, and a chance to fix where they might currently be.

  4. Caitlyn LaReau

    I really like this poem. It expresses two major subjects that we as Christians face today. It expresses the joy we have because Jesus came from heaven to earth to bring us to God. It also talks about the struggles we as Christians face in our sinful and indulgent world today.

  5. Jennifer Tosch

    Maintaining a Christian perspective is so very hard in these times. How do we teach children the value of choosing God first? It used to be that schools and activities left Sunday morning and Wednesday evening for church. Now, those times are just another tug of war for our attention. Many of my Sunday school students are absent regularly because they have soccer games or tennis matches. Many of them have parents who skip church to watch football. Last year, a student told me sometimes God feels a lot like Santa Clause, just a nice myth and he gets made fun of for still believing. How hard it is to seek out God and follow the hard road.

  6. The poem was good. It was very compelling and interesting. I could relate because as Christians, we try to serve God but fall short sometimes because of the different choices we make. We want to obey God but be members of the world at the same time. We get cought up in the material and unimportant things. The Bible tells us we can’t serve two masters, we must make a choice between God or the world. Dan did a great job reshaping our prespectives.

  7. Kevin O'Donovan

    Every aspect in this poem is true in todays world. How are we supposed to live in a Christian way when we eveybody is bringing us down? We have to step back and realize the true joy in life. This was a very nice and thoughtful poem.

  8. This is an unbelievable poem that is so true in todays world. It is very difficult to live a Christian life in the world. We have to take a step back and try to live a joyful life. We have to find the good things in life and try to keep them close to us. Everything in the poem is true in todays world and the most common themes in the world. We have to be the ones who spread the good word.

  9. Autumn Boss

    I really enjoyed this poem. It helps bring us closer to God, but yet brings in the reality of our lives. I like the idea that it points out both the negatives and positives.

  10. Jenna Rae Reidenga

    Growing up in the Christian faith, it is hard to look at trials in tribulations in a new, fresh way. Constantly being frustrated by what the world throws our way, regaining strength and determination becomes monotonous and tiring. Although Christians are supposed to use God as their strength, Satan tempts us to become bored and frustrated with enduring the difficulties God gives us to make us stronger. This poem provided me a new way to look at what I do with my time, especially when I’m stressed, tired or irritated with hardships. It also provided me a new way to feel joy in the sacrifices Jesus Christ made for me.

  11. Taryn Wilkens

    Christ calls us to be rebels, and He showed us the way right with His birth. We often think of rebels as bad, but anymore, “going with the flow” can be more dangerous. Christ calls us to rebel against society and follow Him, something much more difficult, and certainly not popular. I find it so amazing that Christ had such an unattractive birth; I think it was just a way to show us how different He was going to be. Thanks for your poem!

  12. Lauren Fisher

    By reading this poem, I realized it brings us closer to God. In today’s society it’s hard to live a Christian life. Everyday we need to trust in the Lord and live our lives to the fullest. No matter what happens, we should realize that God has a plan for us. This poem also brings out the negative and positive aspects of life as well.

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