Cindi and I didn’t send out a Christmas letter this year. We enjoy the ones we get from others, but so many people send them that we usually don’t feel like adding to the mix. Two years ago, though, we took the opportunity to both write a Christmas letter as well as send out a poem that we hoped would magnify Christ and encourage our brothers and sisters to have a weighty, Christ-centered Christmas.
I’m not a trained poet, so I just have to work off of instinct. When I have the time and the inspiration to write something, I often like to take a passage of Scripture and put it into poetry. That way, I know that what I’m writing is true. Plus, it doesn’t take as much creative juice (although it still takes a lot, at least for me). My desire is to combine truth with beauty, adorning already-stunning truth with lyrical garb that (hopefully) serves to impress it upon the heart in a unique way. Telling someone that “God is creative” is a clear way to communicate that particular truth. Telling someone that “God is creative” while pointing at a deep-orange sunset lighting up a hundred clouds in the western sky is a clear and powerful way to communicate the same truth. This is one of the many reasons why I am grateful for poetry. It helps us to see that truth is more than propositions.
I’m usually rigid when it comes to rhyme and meter, because I like the cadence of it. I also appreciate the discipline that it takes to write with rhyme and meter. But that’s really neither here nor there. This isn’t a post about poetry, which I know very little of. It’s about Christ, whose glory shines infinitely brighter than poetry and prose and every other genre of literature.
With the aim of exposing that glory, I’ll be posting “Messiah” in four parts. “Messiah” is a loose paraphrase of Isaiah 53, which is poetry itself. Isaiah 53 has twelve verses, so each section of “Messiah” contains the content of the corresponding three verses in Isaiah 53. Lord-willing, I’ll post one part each day, ending with Part 4 on Christmas Day (each day I’ll post the previous parts before the new part in order to maintain the flow). I pray that those of you who enjoy poetry will be able to see the brilliance of Jesus Christ through some amateur writing, and that those of you who don’t will find other ways to enjoy and magnify Him through Christmas Day and beyond. He is not just the reason for the season. He is the Lamb of God who gave Himself to be butchered in the place of living, breathing sinners. He did not die to be ignored. He died to be honored. And so we honor Him. It is our joy to do so.
UPDATE 6/1/06: I wrote this post on my old blog and transferred it here later. Because this poem can already be accessed on Raw Christianity under “Poems,” I’m just going to give a link to the whole poem instead of dividing it into four parts over the course of a few days.