For Anna and Simeon (A Poem on Advent)

(I wrote and performed this poem a few years back for our church’s Christmas program. It works better as a spoken word piece, but I thought I’d share it here anyway. It was formerly called “When the Soul Felt its Worth,” since it carries threads of “O Holy Night.” )


Since the days of old
When the prophets told
Of a King that would hold
The government on his shoulders,
And milk and honey in His hands,

The chosen race
Adorned in white lace
For centuries past her wedding day waits
At the alter for her faceless groom
A Messiah her grandparents swore would soon
Topple the Empire and finally deliver
The white picket fences from father Abraham.

Long lay the empire,
In a Pax that required
Legions, phalanxes and arrows afire,
Long lay the world
With battle flags unfurled
The everlasting hills groan
With agonies of war and famine and hope deferred.

Creation remembers
A fire, now embers,
Where family members
Were supposed to gather round
Feasting on fresh fruit and marshmallows
Plucked from the Tree of life,

And best of all,
He would be with them at their garden party.

But those far off pictures
Are eclipsed by real fixtures
Of sadness and tricksters
Shuffling thrones like shells
Over one elusive ball called deliverance.

So with limp expectations,
And weak incantations,
The world falls asleep again, and dreams about nothing…
…but morning.



Sin and error,
Grief and terror,
Grip the image bearers
Of long forgotten Hope,
And the angels wince at this new normal.

They surround His throne
Begging that He alone
Would call his faithful home
Or else get down there Himself
And do something.

But His ears are attuned
To the voices of two
Aged prophets who
Still sees visions of a coming King:

Anna and Simeon stubbornly sing.

From their wrinkled lips
Over incense whisps,
Their whispered melodies insist
That the violent plots of jilted progeny
That prodigals plotting their recompense
That the unbroken strings of brokenness would all,
At last,
Be broken.
That HE would finally come to take His throne.

Anna she weeps,
Simeon keeps
The incense burning,
If for just another day.
Unless their strength finally falters,
And their heartbeats give way.

Not today.
Not till we’ve seen him.
Dear God, not today.

shepherds and angels


When Rachel’s weeping fills the skies
Her innocents, slaughtered like flies
By petty kings with jealous knives,
Midnight threatens to paint the hills
in permanent despair.

And it would have, too.
But for a star-shaped window
In the firmament,
And the Fathers light pouring through.

There, from that perch
He whispers words
The most anticipated ever heard
“The fullness of time has come.”

And at that,
Giddy galaxies dance and run
To watch Bethlehems skies
Where Heaven’s minstrels arise
With joyous operas improvised,

“He is here!
He is here!
Glory and Peace!
He is here!”

Herdsmen and Cherabim
Elbow the Seraphim
Just to catch a glimpse of Him
The Emperor of the Cosmos,
The King of a Billion Suns,
Under cover —
Sleeping on a horse’s breakfast.

And Men and angels
Raise their glasses
To the Newborn Caesar.

But an honor still higher
Meets the ones who conspired
Over wax-fueled fires
In sleepless prayerful nights:
Anna and Simeon
Faithful and frail,
Feeble and mostly blind,
At last, receive Destiny Himself in their hands,
To be dedicated,
and celebrated.

Long lay the world
In sin and error pining,
Till he appeared
In their arms,
In swaddling clothes
With a violent clash of hymns and prose
And the soul of man finally knows
It’s incomprehensible worth.

Because He came near
And His rule still advances
Taming cruel hearts with redemptive romances
Leading us back,
Calling us home
To the campfires of Eden.

Photo Credits:

Creative Commons license, North Carolina Smokies from Newfound Gap by coloneljohnbritt

Creative Commons license, Spiritual Boundary by vincos

Shepherds image, free use from

3 replies
  1. Chris Audet
    Chris Audet says:

    Wonderful Jason! You captured the clash of wonder and despair, the hope and the mess of the whole story. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Sarah Starr Vincent
    Sarah Starr Vincent says:

    my words fail, but yours do not .
    love to you and Sara and all of your wonderful treasures

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