This Shall Be A Sign

Christmas 2003: The Nativity

Image by DUCKMARX via Flickr

I edited this poem I wrote last year, and I like it better. So I am reprinting it, because I haven’t had time to write another, which is sort of a tradition of mine, to give Him a gift of a poem.  I don’t think He minds that I abandon my traditions.

I am so thankful He is enabling me to walk in such peace and rest this Season, as I focus not on traditions and tinsel, but on the wonder of His coming to die for such a wretched sinner as me. Oh, thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

After the angel’s Excelsis Deos, the mess
of this ugly Nativity was so unexpected:
that the stink of dung, not frankincense,
had welcomed Heaven’s exile,
that the cave floor was so smeared with blood,
that the wan mother was fallen into straw–
With suffering His kingdom
began its violent advance.

Yet these smelly vagrants had little interest
in these parents unprepared for their visit.
Their gazes fixed on the mystery
wrapped like  gravecloths,
laid in an animal’s trough,
nestled in a hollow made in cold stone
like a corpse in a sarcophagus:
this was their Savior.

Why do we outfit them all with halos,
snuggle Him in cosy blankets,
sprinkle the scene with pretty angels
spangled in gold? We tell a story
voiced with British accents
for suburban wide screens, drenched in sentiment.
We take the good news from the losers: the orphans,
lepers, hookers, and demoniacs–

Those from the night shift
He was anointed for.
But He came for haters of Christmas,
and of Him.  Even Creation groaned
at His birth–and a dragon waited to devour Him.
That bright star leads to a tomb.
The sign for you
is  strips of cloth and hollowed-out stone.

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