God of kings and shepherds
see how we count the sweep of time
it all turns on Christ, on a moment we can all take to be a beginning, a victory, a mystery
A time in Bethlehem we sing of, thick with miracles
we wonder, what is the heart of it?
Is it Mary and Joseph, trusting enough to risk the disapproving stares
the whispers as they pass in the marketplace?
they aren’t even married yet
she’s so young
he isn’t the father
Is it great wise men from the East, crossing desert wastes and fording rivers
bearing gifts fit for a king, to lay them beneath a feed-trough
for the baby sleeping there?
Is it the angels, choosing shepherds as bearers of the sacred message
the lowest of the low who sleep under the stars
chosen to bear the words of the heavenly host?
Is it that shepherd and king, calloused hands and hands shining with gold rings
course voices and cultured tones
sweat and perfume
shared in worship together?
Perhaps – but behind it we see
shining angels of God looking down on the child Jesus
staring in wonder, able only to worship
This child they have known since before time began
who they know as the Lord God
not clothed as a child, but born a child
The angels’ wonder, the wonder of Joseph and Mary,
the wonder of wise men and shepherds
We share in this wonder
At a loss for words, we pray simply
Glory to God
And peace on earth