Christmas Eve With a Nod Toward Milton Street


One last piece of poetry for Advent, this one inspired just a bit by a story Ann Kansfield, intrepid co-pastor at Greenpoint Reformed Church, Brooklyn, told yesterday and today.

Sitting on the hillside one cold, dark night,
passing the wineskin to stave off the cold,
watching the sheep, hoping to get it right
(because what job was worse than a night-shift shepherd?).
There they were, as low as they could sink,
when some dude showed up, talking “Good News.”
Big news in Bethlehem? No, I don’t think
that’s right . . . he’s a nutter . . . with an army . . .
Is this an invasion?
The seed for a new creation?
But they could go and see . . .

Sent to some daft hillside one cold, dark night
—explaining to humans was getting old.
Would this lot run? Would they put up a fight?
Did one of them just call me “dude”? Seriously?
Will I get the words right? They’re buying it!
The Boss said don’t force them; let them choose . . .
that’s it . . . to Bethlehem . . . No . . . don’t just sit . . .
Once you go see, anything can happen!
Just the right persuasion,
and they join the New Creation!
They go, and soon they’ll be . . .

We’ll sit in our church pews on this dark night
(passing a bottle would be much too bold)
With our coats and candles we’re such a sight
(maybe I’ll stay home, watch “It’s a Wonderful Life”)
not glossy or attractive at all,
but that might mean we’ve nothing to lose.
Let’s go be Bethlehem, a house of bread
to feed the world hope . . . joy . . . the possible . . .
all God can envision . . .
to witness to New Creation!
Tonight, we set love free . . .


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