Christmas began in modesty. A baby, in an animal feeding trough, unnoticed, away from traveling places, at a busy time in the little town of Bethlehem. Children often capture the wonder better than learned people trying to imagine the phenomenon.
The happening in Bethlehem was unlike any other, beyond words of respectable expression. Theologians call it the Incarnation, when God took on human flesh and became Immanuel – God with us. Surely the hinge of history squeaked as a door opened to announce new possibilities of hope, love, joy and peace.
A friend, Dr. Dennis Johnson, shared a poem on Facebook, written by John Shea in his collection of poems, “The Hour of the Unexpected.” The poem is titled, “Sharon’s Christmas Prayer.” It seizes that extraordinary moment in Bethlehem. I hope it’s as meaningful to you as it is to me.
She was five,
sure of the facts,
and recited them
with slow solemnity
convinced every word
they were so poor
they had only peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
and they went a long way from home
without getting lost. The lady rode
a donkey, the man walked, and the baby
was inside the lady.
They had to stay in a stable
with an ox and an ass (hee-hee)
but the Three Rich Men found them
because a star lighted the roof
Shepherds came and you could
pet the sheep but not feed them.
Then the baby was borned.
And do you know who he was?
Her quarter eyes inflated
to silver dollars,
The baby was God!
And she jumped in the air
whirled round, dove into the sofa
and buried her head under the cushion
which is the only proper response
to the Good News of the Incarnation.
Mary and I wish you a Merry Christmas!