The Red Couch: A Widening Light Linkup



Advent began this past Sunday. I don’t know what, if anything, that means to you. Advent may be an important part of your Christmas preparations or you may not observe it at all. I’ve been everywhere in between.

For the last few years, I’ve read different Advent books. The short daily readings or creative exercises reminded me of the Christmas story and helped me see it with fresh perspective. Advent is about waiting and if I could sum up the last few years of my life, that word would be it.

In many ways, I’m still waiting. Advent culminates with the birth of our King and then a new kind of waiting began, as he grew up, as he prepared to start his ministry. It was a long wait, especially when you consider the centuries preceding his birth. And yet, people had hope. They believed the Messiah was coming.

A Widening Light: Poems of the Incarnation is a collection of Advent poems edited by Luci Shaw. This past month I read a poem or two before bedtime, letting the words marinate as I slept and dreamed. Letting the message of hope speak to me anew.

I asked a few members of the Red Couch team to pick a poem that spoke to them and write a few sentence reflection. I am moved by their response and I hope you will be too. But I hope it doesn’t end there for either of us. I hope we carry these stirrings throughout the Christmas season and that they help us to love others better and that they give us peace amidst the chaos.

(Details on the linkup below.)


Cara Meredith

Too much to ask, by Luci Shaw

Sometimes life feels heavy, like I’m carrying more on my plate than my fingers will ever have the strength to possess. But then I read Luci’s words, and I know that I too am invited to the table, to be a part of “God’s shocking, unorthodox/ unheard of Thing,” and my insides calm. For I am his and he is mine, and as messy and crazy and unprepared as this journey is, I say yes.


Kelley Nikondeha

After Annunciation, by Madeleine L’Engle (page 13)

This poem speaks of Mary’s child, but also my own. My daughter, when I first met her in Burundi one sweaty summer day, carried the heavy diagnosis of AIDS with every breath. The decision to bring her home seemed utterly irrational. Had I leaned on good reason… there’d have been no room for her in my heart, maybe no room for her anywhere else, either. I thank God love does bloom bright and wild, that love creates room where logic doubts there’s enough. Sometimes a poem is both biblical and autobiographical…this is one.


Annie Rim

Anno Domini, 1980, by Nancy Nase Thomas (pg 20)

I spend a lot of my time looking down – down at my nursing baby, down at my running-wild preschooler, down at my book, down at my phone. My inclination can often be head-down, let’s get through these holidays mode. As I learn to balance the quiet of Advent with the excitement of Christmas, may I look up like the shepherds. Up at the sky to experience “God. God is with us.”


A Widening Light linkup

We’d love to hear your reflections! You can link up a post or a poem from A Widening Light OR you can link up a post you’ve written about any of our 2015 books. The linkup will be open all month long.



Our January book is The Irrational Season by Madeleine L’Engle. You can see our entire 2016 lineup here. Join the Facebook group to discuss all things book-related throughout the month.

Disclosure: Amazon Affiliate links included in this post.  If you click through to Amazon, any purchase you make supports this site.