Christmas 1: “A little child shall lead them…”

There were perhaps others
on the look-out for kings that day,
scouring the glossy mags,
checking out the trendy spots,
tracking every star on the rise.

It was easy enough with the census on
and everyone back to their homes,
easy to know who would be where
(and no-one who was anyone would ever be there,
in a no-name backwater, in a cave full of stock feed).
Busily tracking celebrities’ tweets,
they would have missed
the teenage mother and her sheepish bloke
(not even the father, the word on the street went),

only shepherds,
whose eyes were careworn enough to spot
the angel singing praise, whose knees
were weathered enough to bend with heaven’s wind,
and whose minds, trained to recall
their Shepherd’s Almanac of facts,
had not forgotten the promised day
when lion and lamb would meet as friends,
and a little child would lead.

Luke 2: The Shepherds and the Temple

Rembrandt van Rijn - Adoration of the Shepherds
Rembrandt van Rijn – Adoration of the Shepherds

 

The child interrupts
           commerce,
                 the daily graze of life,
                            the expectations
                 of a quiet night in the fields.

The child demands
            leaving flocks,
                  abandoning norms,
                         following the angel’s call
                     in evening disquiet.

The child enters
            the daily,
                   the simple: cries, shivers,
                          needs food and warmth,
                      yet transforms it all.

The child fulfils
            centuries
                  of longing, of waiting:
                        consoles, answers, pierces;
                      a sword, a king, a child.