If you have never heard of jólabókaflóð, the tradition began in Iceland during World War II when paper was one of the few things that was inexpensive. During the final weeks of the year, book publishers would put out a flood of new titles at the closing of the year, thus “yule book flood.” In 2015, one of the founders of “World Book Day” was enamored by the idea of jólabókaflóð and, thanks to social media, the idea has been gaining traction ever since.

As a committed (and potentially pathologic) bibliophile, when I first heard of the tradition of jólabókaflóð, my immediate response was “Ooh, a reason to give away books!” I have always loved to give books to family and friends, but this year, I wanted to extend the flood to you, dear reader.

Today and tomorrow, I have made the Kindle version of my book, Soil of the Divine, available for free on Amazon. You can find it by clicking here. Although it is not the paper version, which in my opinion is always preferred, I do hope that you are blessed by it and that, above all, you have a most blessed Christmas.

(N.B. if you click “Read for Free”, you will be pushed in to “Kindle Unlimited.” Instead click “buy now,” unless you really want to use KU.)

Condensed Infinity

Reflection on Psalm 113 from Soil of the Divine

Who can fathom the Lord’s transcendence?

Could billions of galaxies
or even the whole universe
even begin to contain Him?

Could the combined wisdom of time
even begin to categorize Him?

It is impossible
to even begin
to grasp the Infinite.

Yet He looks down,
far down.
Transcendence transcending
infinite space to attend
to the finite and fragile
by becoming the most fragile
tiny babe born
to teen mother
in a stable of wood.

The intermingling
of transcendence
and immanence
is unfathomable.
Yet in that vulnerable infant–
seven pounds
and fully dependent–

God condensed infinity.

A Christmas Poem-2015

Did the stars open their eyes widely?
Did the trees tremble with excitement?
Did the clouds crowd in
to get a glimpse of the newborn Savior?

Did the rocks cry out?
Did the grasses whisper and wave?
Did the streams and falls and rivers
sing in harmony at the sound of the baby’s cry?

All of creation echoes the psalmist
“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel
who alone does wondrous things.
blessed be his glorious name forever;
may the whole earth be filled with his glory!”

We turn our eyes upon the latest gadgets
We tremble at the newest hit song
We crowd in to get a glimpse of pre-Chrismtas deals.

We cry out, in anger, that a clerk failed to wish us a “Merry Christmas”
We murmur and grumble about unfair treatment
We sing not worship, but discord.

Meanwhile, meanwhile
we lose sight
of the One who sets all things right

This Christmas
open your eyes widely
tremble with excitement
crowd around the manger

cry out with joy
whisper thanksgiving
sing a lullaby to the One who makes all things well.

-December 2015

Raising Immanuel

I’m just a lowly carpenter,
building things of wood;
I put my heart and soul in this,
my buildings firm and good.

I’ve asked a girl to be my wife,
young Mary, sweet and kind;
a flower so pure and lovely,
I was blessed to find.

With longing anticipation,
I’ll await our wedding day;
I’ll protect the virtue of this girl
and keep my desire at bay.

The whisperings I hear in town
say “Mary is with child.”
“It can’t be true” I tell myself
my fears are running wild.

O God, I’m hurt and weeping
this pain, I cannot bear;
she dashed my heart upon the rocks
leaving fragments of despair.

Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace
I cry to you for aid;
the law says I should stone her
but I can’t. I am afraid.

I will divorce her quietly
the most mercy I can show;
A woman deserving death
will just be left alone.

I’ll buckle down, back to work
forget about our plans;
swinging a hammer is what I know,
not being a married man.

Tonight I dreamed a wondrous dream,
God’s angel spoke to me;
rekindling my cooling fire,
he said “let the marriage be.”

“Don’t be afraid, strong Joseph
to take Mary as your wife;
the life that grows inside her
is the Messiah’s life.”

I awoke excited and with dread
the Christ will be my son;
what can this lowly carpenter
teach the Maker of the Sun?

I’ll take the girl as my wife
we’ll raise Immanuel;
“God with us” will live with us
the Savior come to dwell.

-December 2016

Isaiah 9:6–a poetic reflection

One holy night
in Bethlehem town
a child was born
the Savior came down.

Not just a child
but a King came to earth
this small swaddled babe
the noblest birth.

Our Wonderful Counselor
God fully wise
His knowledge and insight
filling the skies.

The most Mighty God
magnificent in power
nothing impossible
for Christ, our strong tower.

Everlasting Father
with unfailing love
cradles his children
both here and above.

The Prince of Peace
restoring shalom
Heaven’s wholeness he brought
to our earthly home.

The Son condescended
in the form of a child
The Almighty incarnate
God and man reconciled.