Return to Christmas

This week I received a ‘welcome back from sabbatical’ note from a friend who knows a lot about sabbaticals, and reminded me that the return to work is the third part of sabbatical (the first part being preparation and the second part being the time away.)
He helped me realize that I need at least a few more weeks of “phase 3 experience” before I will be ready to share the best fruits of my sabbatical. In the meantime, I can say that it is good to be back at Five Oaks (
And a return to lengthy daily times in silence, often with poetry as well as with scripture, have reoriented me.  They take me back to the “heart: the manger where the real things are” (Christmas, by Michael Leunig) and help me return to Christmas too. 
Michael Leunig’s poetry – and other creative works – are amazing: 
I sometimes imagine Jesus’ voice in the words of Leunig’s Christmas poem which a good friend gave me last year, and I pass along now:

Michael Leunig


I see a twinkle in your eye,

so this shall be my Christmas star

and I will travel to your heart:

the manger where the real things are.

And I will find a mother there

who holds you gently to her breast,

a father to protect your peace,

and by these things you shall be blessed.

And you will always be reborn

and I will always see the star

and make the journey to your heart:

the manger where the real things are.