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Christmas poem, “Immanuel: God Within and Among Us”

 
The Christmas poem, “Immanuel: God Within and Among Us” was written for the Centennial Christmas Cantata to celebrate the centennial of First Congregational Church of Long Beach’s historic building. Below is a the video of the performance.

“Immanuel: God Within and Among Us”

I. MOTHER – LET IT BE

Let it be; I’m ready to serve.
God’s mercy flows in wave after wave
on those in awe before the Divine.

I am bursting with God’s immanence,
dancing the song of my liberating God.
God took one good look at me,
and look what happened—
I’m the most fortunate person on earth!

Let it be; I’m ready to serve.
God’s mercy flows in wave after wave
on those in awe before the Divine.

God shows strength in scattering
braggarts and tyrants,
lifting the wounded out of the mud.
The starving poor sit down to a banquet.
God embraces her children, piles on mercies.

Let it be; I’m ready to serve.
God’s mercy flows in wave after wave
on those in awe before the Divine.

II. FATHER – THE PATH OF PEACE

In a dream I am told
to love this child though not of my flesh,
to name him Jesus—‘God liberates’—
for he shall liberate people from fear
and separation from God.

God’s liberation and mercy abound:
we can praise the Creator
without a care in the world.

Through the Creator’s mercies,
the Divine will dawn in each of us,
shining on those in darkness,
those sitting in the shadow of death,
showing us the way, one foot at a time,
down the path of peace.

III. THE DONKEY – GOD IN THE EVERYDAY

I am only a humble donkey,
but this is how I see it.
When I carried her she was heavy,
but filled with love and light.

This is how I see it:
the Creator is reaching out to us.
Filled with love and light,
her child will be a wise teacher.

The Creator is reaching out to us,
even in this cave where we are stabled.
Her child will be a wise teacher,
bringing God to birth in our hearts.

Even in this cave where we are stabled,
Divine love shines warm and bright.
Bringing God to birth in our hearts,
the wise recognize God in the everyday.

Divine love shines warm and bright.
When I carried her she was heavy.
The wise recognize God in the everyday.
I am only a humble donkey.

IV. SHEPHERDS – WHAT TO LOOK FOR

We are encamped outside of town,
keeping night watch over our flocks.
A dazzling brightness appears—
knowledge that something new is born.

Glory to God the Creator!
Peace to all people on earth!

We are told to look, not among the rich,
but among the poor and marginalized.
Right here in our need and needs of others,
God is within us, between us, among us.

Glory to God the Creator!
Peace to all people on earth!

V. SCHOLARS FROM THE EAST – HEED THE DREAM

We dedicate our lives to seeking.
We study ancient texts and scan the stars.
When the numinous appears, we follow,
even if the journey takes us beyond
the borders of what we’ve known before.

We honor the birth of love
with the finest gifts we can bring,
for wisdom nurtured will grow strong.
We remember to heed our dreams,
for the Divine is still speaking.

VI. THE STAR – GRACE FOR ALL

My light shines for the good of all.
Eastern sages follow my grace.
I will lead all who heed my call.

New life born in a rustic stall,
Love arrives in this very place.
My light shines for the good of all.

A peasant girl in no grand hall
Fears not to know God face to face.
I will lead all who heed my call.

A Jewish youth lanky but tall,
In whom David’s line can still trace.
My light shines for the good of all.

Beloved ones, cast off this pall;
Our God embraces every space.
I will lead all who heed my call.

God’s invitation reaches all:
The universe explodes with grace.
My light shines for the good of all.
I will lead all who heed my call.

Tina Datsko de Sánchez serves as Poet in Residence at the First Congregational Church of Long Beach. Tina is the author of the bilingual poetry book The Delirium of Simón Bolívar. “Immanuel: God Within and Among Us” was written for the Centennial Christmas Cantata to celebrate the centennial of FCCLB’s historic building. The music is by Curtis Heard. To arrange for sheet music, please contact cheard@firstchurchlb.org.

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