Friday, 17 December 2010

Crowns and palaces

Kings in purple curtains
with crowns from last years crackers
Proud kings, shy kings,
loud and quiet kings
with packages wrapped
in velvet or shiny paper
carried reverently
or tossed about
to be presented
to a mother
whose head dress has come adrift
and who holds her baby upside down
while her husband smiles mischievously
distracted by the angelic throng
of tutu-clad nursery children
with sparkling wands
bringing Good News to all.
The scuffle between the camel and the sheep
is soon forgotten 
as these angel voices strike up
"Away in a manger".
And the adults, with a tear in their eye
think they have truly seen portrayed
the Christmas story.
Is it any wonder
we think of this baby God
as benign and ineffective
born in such cloying sentimentality?
Divorced from the reality
of crushing poverty
and oppressive regime.
Ignoring the fears of a pregnant teenager
giving birth and then taking to the road
with her partner 
not much older.
The angels that visited them
were scary, not cute.
And the kings - well meaning
but almost got them killed.
No wonder baby Jesus
grew up tough
and still hangs out
with the poor and exiled
in our communities
and cries at what we have done
to the Christmas story.

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