Friday, December 22, 2017


It is almost Christmas Eve, and as we remember the birth of Jesus Christ, in our family we also will be celebrating little Eli's first birthday. I should also admit that I am thankful that I have survived the care of a little one with no emergencies and few aches and pains.  It has been a good seven months for this grandmother.  Of course, I have also had some adventures learning my way around the community, attending a writing conference, teaching a class or two, writing poetry and attending poetry readings where I stand up and make myself vulnerable to a roomful of strangers.  This grandmother is having fun.

I'm offering my latest poem in a series I hope to continue on some Biblical stories from a woman's point of view.  It has a little of everything:  another grandmother, a newborn baby and best of all, a little history and some ancestors of the baby Jesus.  So Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

My name is Naomi .   
Mine is a true story, an important part of Israel’s history.
I lived after the great Exodus from Egypt but before
The kings.  Moses had died, Joshua too.  Also Samson, of
That Samson and Delilah story you’ve no doubt heard about.
My people had lost their identity.
When the scribes wrote about us, they often just said,
“The sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord.”
Everything changed for me with the famine in our land.
My husband moved us, myself and our two sons,
To the land of Moab, a foreign place. 
Jews were in the minority there.  After a while,
My husband died, and sorrow upon sorrow,
So did our two sons, leaving me and their two wives alone.

My sons married women who had not been taught about Yahweh,
Our God, or Moses or the Commandments.  So when I made
Plans to return home, I urged the girls to go back to their parents.
Eventually one did, but Ruth refused to leave me.  The words
She spoke to me are quoted to this day in wedding ceremonies.
“Where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge.
Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.”
Clearly, Ruth was now an adopted Hebrew as much as if
She were my own birth daughter. 
We caused quite a stir when we arrived back in the village.
Some recognized me but I was depressed.  I went out full but
Came back empty, I said.  The rest of the story of how Ruth met Boaz,
married him and became pregnant—well, it’s a lovely story and you can
read it for yourself in the Book of Ruth in the Hebrew Bible. 

When Ruth gave birth to a son, my joy returned to me. 
I held him in my arms and I knew the consolation only a newborn
Child can give.  Precious as he was, though, little Obed was not
Just another baby.  Obed when he grew up became the father of
Jesse who was the father of the boy David who became king.
You may or may not know this but from Jesse’s son David
Many years later was born Joseph, the father of Jesus,
Who would become the Savior of the world.  His real father, though,
As Mary knew quite well, was not Joseph but God.  
I couldn’t see all this that was to come in the future
But little by little I did see the hand of Yahweh in my life, in Ruth’s
And now with hindsight, I see how God was working out His plan
To bless the world with another Jewish Baby. 

My name is Naomi and this is my story.