The First Day of Christmas

The first day after angels sing,
That’s when all it begins,
for babies scream, yes, even Him,
and smell, and eat,
and do not understand,
and so squall all the more.

There Mary sits alone,
for Joseph’s gone to find the Registry,
Likely to stand in line
for hours and frustrated, with
far too much time to contemplate
this child he didn’t choose,
but now must change (for babies
smell) and feed and teach and raise up in
the wisdom of the Lord.

And after all the Roman lines,
he looks out for a place to stay,
exhausted now (for who has slept?)
and wishing he had family near,
or time enough and wood to build
a little hut to hide out from the wind
and from those
dark and starry nights when no more
singing angels will appear.

Meanwhile Mary shivers,
sore, and with
the stale of stables clinging to
her clothes and to the
rags she wraps her baby in,
wishes for Elizabeth, and
has to find a place to pee and to begin
the mystery of raising up
this squalling wonder
she has borne.

Frightened and confused she waits
for food and for her husband, and
for what new marvel may begin. She stores
within her tender teenaged heart those things
she saw last night, and smiles somehow
down at her little tiny child.

And hope, like two small turtledoves,
arises in her heart as she
remembers other rustling wings,
and how she couldn’t help but start
to magnify these mysteries
that she would never understand.
And so

she gathers from the trough
her baby, for the beasts get hungry too,
and it was feeding time.
She swaddles him, and though it hurts
to walk, she slowly
goes to greet this morning
that the Lord has made.

And round her roars suburban busy-ness which
starts her beaming as she gazes
down upon this secret of the world which
she now cradles in her arms. True to his name,
surely he’ll save them all someday.
And so she smiles, and so her heart
begins softly to sing
a new and quiet song of praise.

And then she sees her husband come
with bread and figs for breakfast, and
he waves and grins at her and now
his eyes say he accepts it all.
They shine with hope,
and with all of his love for her,
and, finally, and growing still
his faith in this amazing,
this confounding
God he cannot understand,
but who he praises and
provides for
anyway.

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