The baby stirs,
Gently brushing the warming hay
From a face still crinkled by the passage of birth.
His tiny hands, clutching at invisible stars,
Already destined to be fastened in anger to wood.
His parents gazing in wordless wonder at their miracle,
Oblivious to the contract being signed on his life,
By an earthly king, frantically tightening his grip,
On a crown given by occupying forces.
His family unwelcome in the town,
Reluctantly given space in an external storage shed.
The birth of a saviour witnessed by cattle and vermin,
Who pause, blinking, at the invasion of their chambers,
Yet offer a welcome missing elsewhere.
The heavenly Father smiles,
His eternal excitement bubbling over into stars and comets,
That mark the skies with spectral light,
Footprints of the Creators delighted dance,
And offering a sign to those who watch in hope.
Visitors come – not family or friends,
But night workmen, dusty from fields littered with sheep.
Who tell of glory sung, and invitation given,
These shepherds, scorned by holy folk and ignore by others,
Are those with the honour of seeing his first hours fleshed out.
Welcomed by the exhausted parents,
Not clothed in earthly status themselves,
Who understand something of the story developing –
That the promised delivery of creation, long foretold,
Is somehow wrapped up in their tiny bundle of warm flash.
So many years later,
We still push through the crowds to secure our place,
Desperate for a sight of this rare and precious beauty.
But in our haste, in our eagerness to present our praise,
We risk blocking the path for others.
So, who will you invite to the manger?
The noble and the outcast have equal status here,
As the arms of the Creator stretch in welcome,
A proud father, delighted to share his joy,
And embrace all who can see the gift of the child.