Subtitle: On this 11th and penultimate day of Christmastide, a poetic reflection on the reason for the season…


Born under punishing circumstance
in a stable, dark and drear;
at the rear of an inn already full of folk when his parents
(he, in his mother’s womb, still entombed, enthroned alive)
arrived late that night
after a long trek to Bethlehem…

Then to have shepherds,
strangely speaking of angelic voices
sounding above the Earth,
with heaven-rending, earth-shattering
messages about the Messiah’s birth…

Then arriving star-gazing magi from the East,
bearing gifts, but e’en more,
in the severest posture of the least of all,
bowing in honor…

Then, in the light, nay, the blood-red stained and shadowed gloom
of a renegade royal’s threat of deathly doom,
to Egypt, taking flight…

Then returning to dwell in Nazareth,
obscure and out of sight
(thus, why no story is told of his years ‘til twelve)…

Then traveling to Jerusalem for the Passover festival,
by accident, left behind
only to be found in the Temple and with the elders discoursing,
all marveling at his attention and erudition…

Then returning home to grow, in time, in grace and favor…

Then, suddenly, appearing at the shore of the River Jordan,
seeking baptism at the hands of his desert-dwelling cousin
for a repentance he did not need,
but which, fore’er more,
was the first earth-encrusted dying and rising seed
of his wont to identify with the poverty of all humanity
longing to be saved for eternity…

Then into the wilderness for 40 days to fast
to face, to face down the demonic temptations
to care for his own hungering for
bread and not God’s word,
power, not Godly service,
spectacular display, not Godly submission…

Then launching his ministry
seeking the least, the last, the lost,
sharing “at hand” the mysteries of the kingdom –
the life, the nature and character, the being of God –
of love and justice unconditional for all, always and in all ways…

Then, in victory, entering Jerusalem, David’s great city,
the cultural-theological heart of his people
there, as God’s Word in flesh, his testimony,
honed on the Galilean hills and dales, to impart…

Then writing, in speech and act, the dénouement of his-story –
an end that would involve, that would require his death –
cleansing the Temple,
confronting the authorities, condemning their apostasy,
calling his disciples to a Last Supper
of his words and deeds of ultimate testament, and
of his promise of abiding spiritual presence with…within them
through sacrament…

Then praying in a garden
and, there, betrayed by one his own, arrested…

Then tried and convicted and sentenced and crucified…

Then taken from the cross of his death
and, as his mother had borne him in her womb,
entombed in Mother Earth…

Then, on the third day, rising,
coming, again, amongst his disciples,
continuing to teach…

Then, as he had descended from heaven,
ascending, bidding his disciples wait in Jerusalem
for his promise’s fulfillment…

Then, as he had said,
sending the Holy Spirit
that they, empowered his very Self to embody,
would, could carry on his work,
bearing, being his word in the world…


Now, as (long as) I live and breathe, so, do I.

4 thoughts on “Then…

  1. Thank you Paul!! When written this way, with ALL of the “thens”, it makes his life even that more powerful! The fact that extraordinary things happened and many were not great or joyful, YET he kept accomplishing amazing things!! Given all that, how can WE NOT do the same???

    Much love


  2. I have no words for such words as these that so beautifully describe the birth, life, passion, dying,rising, ascending, and sending, of this Jesus we call brother, friend and Savior. Wow, Paul. This is “fiyah”.


    1. Thank you, my dearest Mia, for your word of high praise. E’en more, we thank God for Jesus. Love


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