19 December 2014

Christmas Song 2014

Christmas Song 2014

Ring out the bright bells to welcome the Baby,
parcels of gold at the foot of the trees,
sing with the bright bells, for this is the season
for tasteful bibelots to flatter and to please.

Your table set up for feasting not fasting,
glasses of crystal and porcelain rare,
put magnums of bubbly by the new sofas,
thank the God Plenty theres caviar to spare. 

What of the young girl and what of her Baby,
at the Inn no room, no cradle for ease,
stars in the dark sky and angels watch over,
oxen and asses sink down upon their knees. 

In our selfish world too little to offer
homeless and hungry, the  victims of war,
while we sit dazzled and full with rich living
the Baby weeps for the plight of all the poor. 

We who who once perceived this chasm between us,
ignore the tortured, the lost and the lame
these who are loved by the God of compassion,
these are the sad souls to whom the Christ child came.

All of us should now be neighbours and brothers,
feeding the hungry with food from our hoard
give shelter and trust to folk who have nothing,
love to the loveless, and glory to the Lord.

Two Thousand Years Ago

Two Thousand Years Ago

For unto us a child is born

In the stable a new baby enfolded in the arms
of his loving mother, honoured by oxen,
watched over by angels, greeted by the owl’s
hoot and the night hawk’s cry in the long cold night.
A shepherd boy brought his new lamb for the baby,
the Magi brought rich gifts for the infant king,
humble prince of peace who came to lead
us to the peace of our loving God.

The stars sang, the river nudged its stones
and woke the dreaming dragon flies,
soft breezes whispered among the olive trees,
every flower raised its fragile petals to the radiant sky,
all combined as one to join with the song of welcome
to the enchanting baby born this night of nights,
and to recite again the angelic greeting
‘Peace be to all men of good will.’


I talked to an old soldier, disfigured and lame, 
who fought for five long years in trenches
carpeted with mud, amidst the wire, beneath the gas, 
his young manhood devoured by pain and blood and fear.
‘Did you hate the Hun?’ I asked him.  ‘No,’  he said, 
‘for he was a man like me. Like me he fought 
for what he believed - his emperor, honour,
nation, that all might be strong and free.'

‘When at last you came home’ I said, ‘were you
full of joy,  you, the young proud hero?’
For a long moment he looked into the dying fire.
‘How could I be proud when all I did was to obey orders?
Where was the joy when all my mates were dead?
Closer then to my enemy than to my friend,
I found little peace in that war’s ending,
and little glory in a bitter victory.’

The old warrior slept, while I sat quietly in the dark night
and listened to the echo of sweet celestial voices ringing
once more down centuries of bitterness and cruel war.
And I remembered again those two great commandments, 
to love God and to love our neighbour as ourselves, 
given that we might find his blessed inner peace 
revealed to us by a man born in a stable,
two thousand years ago.