December 25, 2018

"Christmas Day": Twelve Poems and A Story for Christmas

MaryMary was a young girl when she gave birth to a child in a strange place. She was not surrounded by women and midwives and probably went through her entire pregnancy with only Joseph by her side. How many days did she spend walking through fields, doing her chores in silence, and thinking about the child who was kicking and stretching inside her? For Jesus, like all other babies, demanded the full attention of his parents who did not have the traditional support systems.

Again, the steadying presence of Joseph brought her through childbirth. But once the child was born, Mary’s pride surfaces and she will contend with God, if necessary (as any mother would), for the life of her son.

Christmas Day

It had been a hard nine months—her frail
body struggling to keep God alive inside her—
the morning sickness and the craving
for wheat germ and honey—she’d lost
her appetite for meat, and would only eat
the ripest fruit. When she tried to sleep,
on some nights, he would sit on her bladder,
then shift suddenly, and she’d wait
in the darkness until he’d settle down
to the pressure of her hands on her belly.
And when the time came, he wanted
to come out feet first, but Joseph turned him
around and guided him into the light.
She held Joseph’s hands, then lifted the child
to her breast and suckled him with the milk
made from her blood. For until he was ready
to do God’s work, he was her son.


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December 24, 2018

Christmas Evening

Christmas Evening

Joseph still couldn’t understand
what the mystery was all about.
He’d been there when the contractions
shook her small frame, when she wailed,
and dug her fingers into his arm—called out
his name, then her water broke.

He slept beside her on the straw, waited for hours
until the screaming child came into the world,
gazed deep into his eyes, then placed him
between his mother’s breasts, soothing
his cries, and while she was falling
asleep, cleaned them up, cut the cord.

Now there were strangers from all over
the countryside coming into the cave
filling the air with more raw animal smells,
shepherds, sinners, and other neer-do-wells,
who were either drunk or mad,
claiming they’d seen visions
of heavenly hosts of angels, bright
as the moon over the Sea of Galilee.
Joseph shook his head, rocked the manger,
still waiting for the miracle that he’d been promised
when God held his finger and gurgled.

December 21, 2018

"Joseph" : Twelve Poems and A Story for Christmas


He could feel the cold coming on:
flurries of snow melted on his beard.
First his toes, fingers, climbing up his head,
numbness branched across his shoulders,
sagging under the burden.

How many years would he be given with his son
to see the lilies of Capernaum bud, flower, wither,
die and be reborn under the unrelenting sun,
the steady flame by which his life had burned?

He snapped dry twigs under his feet,
turned to his young bride, asleep on the floor--
after all the struggles, so beautiful by the hearth.

Calmly, he stoked the coals, and the embers
greeted his hands, his prayer with a promise
that this warmth, like peace, would live as long as his desire.

The poems describe the journey of a newlywed couple, Mary and Joseph, to their ancestral homeland where they are to be registered in a census decreed by a tyrant. Mary is pregnant and Joseph knows that the child she is carrying is not his. As they travel through the harsh landscape, they are joined by strangers who have been summoned by dreams, visions, and supernatural events to bear witness to a child whose birth they are told is destined to change the course of human history.

In A Miami Christmas Story Raymond Allen, a despairing musician and family man, wrestles with his pride that is both the source of his sorrow and redemption.Twelve Poems and a Story for Christmas explores the inner lives of characters that surround this perennial story and reveals a human dilemma: to find meaning behind the events in our lives.