November 27, 2006

The Angel's Message: Twelve Poems & A Story for Christmas

Caribbean Christmas poemsThe opening poem in Twelve Poems and A Story for Christmas, “The Angel’s Message,” portrays Mary as a reluctant hero in the Christmas story. I’ve imagined her as a feisty, young woman in the mode of Judith or Esther—proud, Jewish patriots.

When she realizes that she is pregnant, her world comes crashing down on her, for she knows that she is about to lose everything: Joseph and her “good name” in her family and village. But then, she grasps the enormity of her choice--her son would be the answer to the Roman occupation that had martyred her brothers and widowed her sisters, and her heart answers before the words can come out of her mouth.

Mary has found the passion to guide her life, which is one meaning of the “Virgin Birth”—the beginning of a spiritual life. She will give birth to a liberator of her people, and her life has now opened up to new possibilities because she has accepted the role of mother of the Messiah.

The Angel’s Message

This was the last thing she’d expected

to hear, for she had seen her own mother

birthed into old age by so many children

and a silent rage shuddered through her body.

Then the fear, would Joseph, her betrothed,

abandon her to the gossip of loose tongues

in the village that would one day, surely rise,

and tear her out of the story of her family, her people?

Was this shame worth the surrender of her pride?

But when the angel said he would be called

“Prince of Peace,” and she heard outside her window

Roman soldiers nailing another cross to the sky,

before she could say the words, her heart stuttered

her reply for all her sisters who had wept for their sons,

their brothers, who had died too soon, and bowed

her head to the new life that filled her body with joy.

To buy or to see more of the book, follow this link: Twelve Poems and A Story for Christmas.



Stephen A. Bess said...

I thought of this book as I watched the previews to the film, The Nativity Story. I said to myself that Geoffrey Philp already did this. :)

Geoffrey Philp said...

Dear Stephen,

Welcome back!

My brother, this has been the curse of my life. I've come up with ideas and some have been plagiarized or sometimes modified for more popular uses. I'm not saying this happened with "The Nativity Story." I am a certain of that.

But I give thanks when someone like you says, "Hey, wait a minute! Geoffrey Philp did that a year ago!"

Give thanks, again. I'll be dropping by your site soon.