Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Day

when they went
home that night,
did they hope
the anthem would
be filed away
until three years from now,
or did the tune and words
keep running through their heads
that they couldn't fall asleep?

when they went
back to work
that night,
did they grumble
about the long hours,
the harsh nights,
the low pay with no benefits,
or did they discover
they were now herders
of hope and grace,
a thankless job
no one else would take?

when they snuck
out of Bethlehem,
keeping their faces hooded
from the searching eyes
of the soldiers,
did they forget about the star,
or was its reflection
so strong in their eyes
that it seemed
it was noontime?

when she snuggled
the infant to her breast
as he smuggled them
through the back alleys
to the forgotten road to Egypt,
did they wonder
if they would ever
get back home
or was the promise
so ingrained in their souls
that they knew God
would hear them crying out
for release?

when we go home
this morning,
today, tonight,
from the vigil
at the stable,
will we . . .

(c) 2007 Thom M. Shuman

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