In a stable warm and sheltered from the winter’s icy blast,
When the shepherds trudged at midnight through the pastures bleak and wild
To behold that God is with us in the clear eyes of a child.
And all the Christmases since then and not so long ago,
When we ran together laughing through a childhood in the snow,
When we hung our hopeful stockings and we listened for the sleigh,
And we knew that God is with us in the joy of Christmas Day.
I saw the Christmas spirit in an image of our time,
When the world grew dark and fearful, filled with violence and crime,
When the holy Child of Bethlehem, who came to set us free,
Hung battered, broken, dying on a hill called Calvary.
And I saw the busy people rushing through the crowded shops,
When the homeless called, “Big Issue!” but they had no time to stop;
With ten thousand turkeys slaughtered as we celebrate the birth
Of the son of the creator of all creatures on the earth.
Then I saw the Christmas spirit in a dream of what might be
When we recognise his beauty and the truth will make us free,
When the kindness shown at Christmas still abides with us all year.
If we know him in the manger, we could recognise him here;
We could see him in the cattle, in the pigs and sheep and birds;
We could see in all creation, incarnations of the Word;
We could honour all that’s holy in each person and each beast;
Then our hearts would be wide open to the meaning of this feast.
O little child, once sleeping on the sharp and prickling straw,
Come live in us this Christmas; make us innocent once more.
Let us find you in each other, then, like angels from above,
We’ll rejoice that God is with us and be messengers of love.
(copyright Christina Croft 2015)
(The answers to yesterday's quiz will be available tomorrow)