What will separate us from the birth of Christ?
Will holiday blues or travel stress? … No.
Will overeating cookies and candy canes
trees, houses and neighborhoods
with puff-up Santas and sleighs? … No.
Will the heartbreak of family distance,
the pain of child, sister or brother estranged,
the sword of loss,
the empty place at the table or the pew? … No.
For I am convinced that
neither the craziness of Black Friday,
and Cyber Monday,
nor the trivializing of precious stories —
Scrooge and Amahl and St. Nicholas,
Polar Express and Grinch –
nor angels hanging from the ceilings
of big box stores,
nor credit card debt,
nor greeting card lists,
nor early dark, nor cold winds and snow …
nor eggnog, nor Yankee swaps,
nor breaking the Mary in your mother’s crèche,
nor greedy children,
nor the height of the Nutcracker ballerina
nor the depth of “Grandma got Run Over by a Reindeer”
every hour on the radio,
nor anything we choose to do,
can’t find time to do,
anything we forget or regret or neglect —
will ever be able to separate us from
God’s love in a manger long ago
and right now, right here.