This is my third year of seeking to give the gift of Advent poems to our church. They usually find their source in what we have recently studied together as a church, so this year my hope is to take them from the latter part of the book of Genesis and the characters we find there. This first one is based on the story of Leah, especially the portion found in Genesis 29. 

The day Rachel was born, little Leah jumped with joy,
And though Laban had had his heart set on a boy,
He too rejoiced at the beautiful baby’s birth,
As the whole camp was filled with the excitement and mirth
Of a birthday. Yet that joy was soon history
As Laban quickly made it no great mystery
That it was in Rachel, not Leah, he clearly espied
The beauty that later would catch Jacob’s eye.
From the day he arrived in his mother’s hometown,
And came to meet Rachel at the watering ground,
Jacob was drunk with love. Or was it lust?
Or was it that this poor, homesick man just
Was thirsty to know and be known,
And to have a companion of his own?
To no longer have to fight and deceive,
But to have a wife to whom he could cleave.
Whatever the reason, he lost all sense,
And paid seven years, a great expense,
To his greedy uncle who soon would trick
The trickster, now blind and completely lovesick.
But the brunt of the joke, the pawn in this game,
Was Leah, who longed to be loved just the same
As the man she was told to fool on the very day
He had hoped to marry the one for whom he had paid.
And yet the next day when this new bridegroom arose,
The sister he now had was not the one he had chose.
He stormed from the tent, heading to Laban,
And poor Leah was left by herself once again.
The sister whose birth had filled a void in her soul
Now came once again and easily stole
The love that she could never seem to hold in her chest.
No matter how devoted she was to the quest.
An unwanted bride, yet she was the one
Who slowly filled Jacob’s home with his sons.
Even as these children were born, her focus was on
The hope that each child Jacob’s love had now won.
But after three sons, she had made no progress –
And though God had continually chosen to bless
This forgotten daughter and bride, she could not see,
That the one she was seeking was not him but He.
He who saw her and loved her when no one else did.
He who gave her a fourth son, as gently he bid
Her to lay down the idol of Jacob’s affection
And to rest in his peace, love, and protection.
When Judah was born, she looked in his face.
Their eyes met in that first birthday embrace.
She thought of how she had always failed to find
The blessing of God, and how he had been kind
To continue to pursue her, though she had ignored
All the beautiful gifts he had graciously bestowed.
Then she smiled and quietly kissed the baby’s forehead.
“This time I will praise the Lord,” she quietly said.
And we too praise the Lord for Leah’s descendants –
For a distant son of Judah who was God’s true presence
Come to earth to seek out the Leah’s like you and me –
The forgotten and abandoned, the ones nobody sees.
Nobody but the Father who sent Jesus to earth.
Our salvation begins with the Son of God’s birth,
And leads to us seeing that the love we all need,
Is found in the one who was willing to bleed
To make us his children, whole and completely restored,
So we finally say, “Now I will praise the Lord.”