Noël’s birthday was on December 27. My last day as Lead Pastor for Preaching is today, December 31.
I’ve been in this role at Bethlehem for thirty-two and a half years today. Remarkably, Noël turned 65 and has thus spent exactly half her life at Bethlehem (32.5 years).
This prompted a poem for her birthday. It is part of the overflow of thankfulness I am feeling these days. God has been good to me. In my wife. In my church. Very good.
The happy day that you were born, was I
In some real way born too? Since we would mesh
One day in marriage, was I already you? Was my
Life yours and your life mine? Was our one flesh
Already made, if only in the mind
Of God? Or are we halves, as half your days —
Your life — this night has now been so entwined
With Bethlehem that you as one star blaze?
Are you a half of me, and I of you?
Is there some half of you that is not me?
Was not the you before I came still through
And through the bride that you were meant to be?
I answer, yes. Behold the mystery:
I you, and you not half, but all of me.