CHRISTMAS EVE 2017

The Rev. Evan Keely, Interim Minister

I.

The Caesars of the world live by a creed:
divide and conquer. Something multiplies
the wish to walk together otherwise.
Can Mary, Joseph, anyone proceed
to make a trip, except they be agreed?
These two who trudge to Bethlehem surmise
there’s not much choice. Let’s not think that implies
that they — or we — don’t see a greater need.

Augustus Caesar put out a decree
to tax the workers and the poor; the rich
decidedly require more riches if
the empire’s going to thrive. We note a whiff
of deft multiplication, something which
will finance what’s dividing you from me.

 

II.

Each night a child is born is holy, so
we say, and so it is. But on this night,
we might especially recall, we might
be more particular, because we know
that as we trudge our way through winter snow
and ice — well, ’tis the season: it’s the right
and proper time for us to keep in sight
a reverence we might otherwise forgo:

for this one child whose birth we celebrate
tonight (whenever he was really born)
might represent a princeliness, a great
compassion, greater kindness for a worn
and weary world. For that alone, I’ll take
a knee for him, and worship for his sake.

 

III.

Some thing is born in all of us, some thing
that never dies, that never can be rent
or lost. We all too frequently consent
to let our inner glory fade. We bring
a creaking, mumbly voice where we should sing,
we limp when we should dance, and we present
our light beneath a bushel. But we’re sent
a gift now. Glory to the newborn King!

Some thing that’s always born in us finds birth
within that fetid stable, and in him,
in all of us, the meaning of the earth
and sky shine forth. So will we let it dim?

What’s swaddled in a dirty feeding-trough
may not be all we need, but it’s enough.