It was a tortured birth
the end of jolting travel and all unwelcome doors;
the prince of darkness fought with everything he had
to stop it, prematurely snuff the life
that guaranteed his doom.
Now, lying in the battle’s blood,
sweat-wet hair across her brow,
combat fatigue takes her down.
His mortal father, heavy with
responsibility, attempts to guard them both.
Small brilliance flashes from the manger,
a light which even now is blinding
confused shepherds trying to make sense
of glory-illumined flocks of angels. They will
be arriving soon to seek its source.
“The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shone.”
It glows and spreads until the Baby,
grown, declares himself at Hanukkah:
“I am the Light of the world!
He who follows Me
will not walk in darkness
but will have the Light of life.”
That first flickering hope
blessing a darkened stable
now reaches every one of us
with fulfilled promises of light enough
to see God visible in flesh.
Painting by Gari Melchers (1860-1932)
Isaiah 9:2, Matthew 4:16; John 8:12