Monday, December 26, 2016

The Last to Arrive?

We take our place at the continuing gathering that centered in Bethlehem

Christmas arrives. Or, we arrive at Christmas--sooner or later. In our faith-formed imagination we are invited to take our place in the Nativity. In this poem, I imagine the unusual and continuing draw of unlikely people to an unlikely place: Bethlehem.

First, census-responding throngs
swell the local populace,
burgeoning homes and hostels
with not-so-welcome guests.

Then, a young man and pregnant girl
arrive, seeking vainly for a room.
Bedding down in a stable,
she gives birth among livestock.

Later in the night, gnarled shepherds
traipse in, finding their way
to the mangered newborn,
just as an angel had told them.

How much later we do not know, Magi
come with gracious gifts,
following a star that draws them
from beyond any traceable map.

And later still, from the four corners
of earth and time, we make our trek.
Are we the last to arrive
at the gathering in Bethlehem?

Years from now, until the end of ages,
more will be drawn and find the One
whose birth angels once proclaimed
and so shall forevermore.

Graphic by Janet McKensie -

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