this day after


    It was some time after seminary
    my best friend, Burt, got married,
    and then a few more years before
    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

    Who he would grow up to be.
    I was two weeks old my first
    Christmas; a half century of
    Decembers have since passed
    (twenty more birthdays than
    Jesus had) and couldn’t have
    imagined that I would take
    over fifty years 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 man; not before
    he had increased in wisdom and
    stature. But that first morning,
    Mary might have looked and loved,
    and said, smiling, “You’re staying.”


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