Between now and Christmas, I will post all five of the Christmas poems I have written over the last five years. Hope you enjoy and are moved. Here is the first...
A Research day in Nazareth
Comparing Luke 1.2 and 2.19, and imagining how Luke may have gotten the information he shares regarding the birth of Jesus.
Three decades after Jesus died –
Since Christ our Lord was crucified –
I did decide to write a book
About our Lord; and so I took
A quill and ink and parchment scroll
And made my way to ev’ry soul
In country far and wide who knew
And could give me a closer view
Of Jesus’ birth and life and death –
This carpenter from Nazareth.
I met with Peter, John and Paul.
And then I made my way to all
Those tiny towns in Galilee,
And to Gadara by the sea.
And Nazareth was my last stop;
As I arrived I thought I’d drop
Dead from riding in the heat.
But in the square I found a seat.
I waited there for quite a while
Until at last an aged smile,
Spread wide across a leather face,
Said ‘come and sojourn at my place.’
She led me to a humble flat.
A table, chair and sleeping mat
Were all she had to offer me.
But in the wrinkles I could see
A story waiting to be told
That would be worth its weight in gold.
And so I asked with ready pen
If she remembered way back when
A local girl – a virgin yet –
Was chosen to a child beget.
‘I remember well,’ she smiled,
‘The story of that blessed child.’
And with new vigor in her face
She started at that holy place
Where Mary got a message sweet
Delivered by an angel’s feet.
He came and stood at Mary’s side
And with a holy voice he cried:
“Young woman favored by the Lord
Take heed and hear your Master’s word
You will give birth to God’s own Son.
And when your labor pains are done
You’ll give the child a special name.
He’ll cure the blind and heal the lame
He’ll loose the captives and the slaves –
So name Him Jesus, ‘Yahweh saves.’”
‘And do you know what Mary said?’
She asked. I smiled and shook my head.
At that she stood up in her place
And lifted up that tired face,
And all at once began to sing
A song of mercy to the King:
“I magnify and I extol
Your beauty Lord who saved my soul.
I lift you up and I rejoice
That God would hear this lowly voice.
He’s seen me in my humble state
And pre-ordained for me the fate
That all the people east and west
From this time on will call me blessed.
The Mighty One has done great things,
And to His holy Name I sing.
His mercy covers far and wide
To those who fear and have not pride.
The haughty can’t escape from harm
Delivered by His mighty arm.
He brings down rulers from their thrones,
And hears the humble in their groans;
He satisfies the hungry; and
He leaves the rich with empty hand.
He draws His mercy from the well
And pours it out on Israel.
And through His Son, the precious Lamb
Makes good His words to Abraham.”
I looked at her with trembling face.
“Can you take me to Mary’s place?”
I asked, “That’s why I’m in this town.
They told me that she’s still around.”
“What do you want with her young man?
She’s old and shriveled like I am.”
“I want to know just how she felt
In Bethlehem the night she knelt
Beside her son and kissed His head;
And how she felt when He was dead.
I’d like to ask about the words
You said she sang the night she heard
That her first child would be the King;
And if she still with joy can sing,
Or if her song and hope were lost
The day they nailed Him to the cross.”
And with a tear drop in her eye
My wise old hostess did reply:
“She is still singing by His grace
And now you see her face to face.”
God’s blessings often come with pain;
His ways and works aren’t always plain.
But even when we suffer long
My friends we cannot lose our song.
Now let us magnify the Lamb
The chosen seed of Abraham
And let us never cease to sing
Of Christ the Lord the newborn King.