A Donkey in a Manger

The season of Christmas

Interrupts us in our everyday

Pausing our routines

Disrupting our rituals

Breaking our habits

For what we do not know

For what we scarcely hope

And for whom we dare not think

As we remember that 2000 years ago

It was not kings or adoring crowds

That greeted this baby lying there

Huddled around his manger bed

His parents consoling his cries

Without fanfare or adulation

But three wisemen

Their myrrh and frankincense

A few shepherds

A horse and some sheep

A donkey too who couldn’t even sleep

For as the baby’s cries drowned out

Even hens’ clucks and lambs’ bleats

The barn door failed to muffle the sound

And much less the cold draft

That creaked and strained its joints

As that baby tossed and turned

To mom and dad’s delight

And still concern

The donkey is oblivious

To the baby’s invitation

His ears are full of groans

His back is so sore

From a country’s baggage

His eyes droop and his mind empties

Wondering when he will next shut them

Counting down to the next sunrise

To the baby’s cries

And the parent’s surprise

For the baby’s cries are for him

That lonely donkey

Huddled in the corner to watch

And for every beast of burden

They invite him to cast his bags

Off those weary worn shoulders

To gallop across plains

To jump over boulders

And be free

Free to join those stallions by the sea

Free to roam wherever he may be

The baby cries for that girl

Selling matches on Christmas Eve

Striking them to stay warm beneath

Someone else’s festive wreath

Under the drifting snow

Under human cruelty

Her time ticking away

With the clock

As midnight approaches slowly

The baby cries for that orphan

Longing to share his ham

With a sir or a madame

Even some turkey with a donkey

Would be better than sitting by

The fireplace staring at

The sky and wondering why

The baby cries for you and for me

The baby’s crying still

When we remember that 2000 years ago

Heaven’s time met earth

Kissing it and its inhabitants

Transporting transcendence

Into our very immanence

Will we be lifted up, up and away

Above our homes and far away

To a place of hope

A hope out of this cycle

A hope of the new

The new year and the new me

The new you and the new view

Of the world and all in it

Or will we rub our eyes

Under those Christmas lights

Scarcely able to believe such lies

Stuffed with pudding and tea

Wondering when that rest will come

When we can sleep deeply?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s