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Reflections on a Yuletide Refrain (A Poem)

24 Dec

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Photo by hotblack on Morgue File.

Peace on earth, good will to men?

Where? When?

Mock us not O God, with the cries of a helpless, manger-born infant

What good is he amongst the travails and evils of this life?

For we do not need a child:

We need a Warrior! We need a King! We need a Strong Man!

 

Peace on earth, good will to men?

Where? When?

Mock us not O God, announced to shepherds? To the lowly of the low?

Understood by foreigners? Those different from us?

What do we have? What have we seen? We, your people?

But chains and shackles: these alone have become our plight.

 

Peace on earth, good will to men?

Where? When?

Mock us not O God, with the cry of Bethlehem’s mothers.

Is this the chorus of peace? The chant of victory?

The wailing and weeping of grief-stricken mothers holding small, limp bodies.

The streets flow with the blood of innocents . . . where was their peace?

They were not saved! They were shown no good will! They knew not life!

No, death came for them. Pain and anguish were their anthem.

Hear, hear the cries of Bethlehem’s mothers as they mourn,

as they writhe in inconsolable pain. Their babies are dead!

Their bodies crumpled in heaps on stoned-paved streets,

with the thrust of Roman daggers through their hearts.

 

Peace on earth, good will to men?

Where? When?

Mock us not O God, the darkness is real.

It envelops us. It intrudes upon our thoughts and hearts.

The evil is unstoppable. The violence knows no end.

Nothing can stop it. Nothing can conquer what humanity has wrought.

 

Peace on earth, good will to men?

Where? When?

Mock us not O God, can a peasant change so much?

But, glimpses, like small shards of white light can be seen.

In a synagogue a demon trembles at the sound of his foot-fall

Hell fears this one . . . this carpenter from Nazareth?

 

Peace on earth, good will to men?

Where? When?

Mock us not O God, what can a wanderer do?

A nomad of the tribe of Judah, with dirtied feet–

A commoner, an everyman, who is he?

Yet, the seas are silenced at his word: Peace, be still.

 

Peace on earth, good will to men?

Where? When?

Mock us not O God, has anything good ever hailed from Nazareth?

Mary and Joseph’s son, he . . . he is the One?

Where is his robe? His scepter? His crown?

Yet, even now Bartimaeus sees colors–vibrant and strong!

 

Peace on earth, good will to men?

Where? When?

Mock us not O God, this leader of a rabble collection of men?

The unlearned and uneducated. The simple. A motley band.

Where are his emissaries? His courtiers? His palace?

Yet, a kingdom is proclaimed and a star is fallen from the sky!

 

Peace on earth, good will to men?

Where? When?

Mock us not O God, he who dines with sinners?

He who makes his company with harlots and publicans?

He who teaches a death in life? A resurrection eternal?

Yet, even now I hear the laughs of a Lazarus: once dead, now alive!

 

Peace on earth, good will to men?

Where? When?

Mock us not O God, this one who grows tired with fatigue?

This one who grows hungry and thirsts for cool water?

This one who knows infirmity and is acquainted with grief?

Yet, even now a Samaritan woman is gushing with living water!

 

Peace on earth, good will to men?

Where? When?

Mock us not O God, Lord of the Sabbath?

Before Abraham was, I AM? The life and resurrection?

The Word who was with God and was God?

Hear! Murmurings of, You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God!

 

Peace on earth, good will to men?

Where? When?

Mock us not O God, a sinless, righteous human?

One who knows the mire and grime of our world?

One who has dirtied his hands in the stuff of humanity?

Yet, the prostitute stands forgiven, bright as noon-day’s sun!

 

Peace on earth, good will to men?

Where? When?

Mock us not O God, this one who faces Jerusalem?

This one who can tear down temples and rebuild in three days?

This one who marches forth resolutely to his impending fate?

Yet, I taste the bread and drink the wine: a new covenant of his body and blood!

 

Peace on earth, good will to men?

Where? When?

Mock us not O God, this one who is betrayed?

This one who stands silent, as a lamb before a knife-wielding slaughterer?

This one who speaks of truth and power given from above?

Yet, the pagan’s wife dreams dreams that unsettle and warn!

 

Peace on earth, good will to men?

Where? When?

Mock us not O God, this one stripped and scourged?

This one who stands for Barabbas and all like-minded lawbreakers?

This one who is beaten and maimed? Crushed and broken?

Yet, still he marches on toward the place of the skull!

 

Peace on earth, good will to men?

Where? When?

Mock us not O God, this one hanging on a wooden cross?

This one crucified between earth and sky?

Where are the legions of angels? Where is the redeemer?

Yet, he speaks . . . exhales at last . . . and the mount quivers violently!

 

Peace on earth, good will to men?

Where? When?

Mock us not O God, this one buried in another’s tomb?

This one who has brought silence, deafening in its ringing?

His blood spent. His heart stopped. His eyes shut. His voice silenced.

Yet, heaven is holding its breath . . . in a gasp or is it anticipation?

 

Peace on earth, good will to men?

Where? When?

Mock us not O God, he saved others, but he could not himself?

This one who  . . . but, what is this? A stone removed? An empty tomb?

What is this? How can it be? His heel was crushed.

Yet, he has crushed the head of the enemy . . . he has vanquished the ancient foe!

 

Peace on earth, good will to men?

It is here, the empty tomb is its song!

It is now, the Risen One speaks and is alive forevermore!

We are the mockers O God, we have mocked your ways,

But you are good and holy and he is the peace and hope of men.

What began in the open air manger, has ended with the opened tomb!

In despair we have bowed our heads, for there is no peace on earth, we said

For hate is strong and mocks the song, of peace on earth, good will to men,

But he is the light in our darkness, the life in the throes of death,

He is the victor’s song! The Resurrection and the Life!

He is the Savior! The Hope! The King! The Lord! Our God Most High!

He is Jesus, the Christ, and he has saved us from our sins!

So we sing, peace on earth, good will to men!

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4 Comments

Posted by on December 24, 2014 in Christmas, Creative Writing, Holidays

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

4 responses to “Reflections on a Yuletide Refrain (A Poem)

  1. rsvendsen07

    December 24, 2014 at 11:37 pm

    This is fantastic! Amazingly written moving and powerful. ❤️

     
    • Timothy Murray

      December 24, 2014 at 11:46 pm

      Thank you very much for the compliments!

      I was inspired to write it from the text in Matthew 2:16-18 and the Casting Crowns cover of “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”.

      God bless and Merry Christmas!

       
      • rsvendsen07

        December 24, 2014 at 11:59 pm

        I love casting crowns! They’re great.

         
      • rsvendsen07

        December 24, 2014 at 11:59 pm

        And merry christmas to you too.

         

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