Advent 24: Incarnate

Christmas hath a darkness
Brighter than the blazing noon…
(Christina Rossetti, “Christmas Eve”)

Minutes before the shops shut, I walked
supermarket aisles with other forgetful ones,
gleaning the last sheaves of festive cheer
while the muzak paused to say it was time.
And two millennia ago, a carpenter and his pregnant bride
found themselves strapped for place and time,
entering mess and forgetfulness,
and God came into the dark.

And driving home I passed the lights of the street,
dazzling with their explosive brightness.
It all leads here: tomorrow shops will shut, corks will pop,
paper will rustle in symphonic joy.
And in a manger God chose the dark,
the small forgotten things, and still,
still He comes into the dark.
Our lights are too bright to see Him.

Last Light: For the Winter Solstice

On the shortest day, I walked down to
            the garden where, stretched out across
                        the grass, the out-turned
                                    fingers of
                        peace received
                                    the night soon here.
 
Vestigial glow bedecked the trees
            and roof-tops sank, the light soon gone.
                        In the evening cool the
                                    streets were
                        softly swept
                                    by homeward feet.
 
But I had left my home to see the light;
            I traced its steps from pallid green
                        treetops to underpass
                                    and marvelled at
                        its retreat
                                    and dusk’s perfect lull.
 
Pink clouds settled to evening grey, yet
            the story was not sad: the day
                        was gift, was treasure.
                                    And how glorious!
                        how perfectly bright the light
                                    set against the dark.