christmastide: this day after


My friends, Burt and Julie, are celebrating the wedding of their son tomorrow. Several years ago, I wrote this poem remembering the birth of their daughter. Today seems a good day to look at it again.

this day after

Some time after seminary my
best friend, Burt, got married;
then a few more years and
they had a child. I remember
calling one day; he answered,
saying he was lying on the bed
looking at the baby. I asked,
“Do you ever look down and say,
‘You’re going to stay here?’”

Something about this day after,
this morning beyond the manger,
that reminds me God chose to
come into the world not fully
formed. Jesus looked up from
the straw much like Burt’s baby
from the bedspread, more
enchanted, perhaps, that he
could chew on his toes than

with what he would do later on.
I was two weeks old my first
Christmas; almost six decades of
Decembers have since passed
(twenty-five more birthdays than
Jesus had) and I couldn’t have
imagined that I would have to
span two centuries to get from
Corpus Christi to North Carolina.

Jesus considered lilies, cleansed
lepers, and chastised leaders who
thought they’d cornered the truth,
but not before he’d been a boy,
a teenager, a young adult; not before
he had increased in wisdom and
stature. And that first morning,
Mary might have looked and loved,
and said, smiling, “You’re staying.”



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