God, I’ll tell children again
that candy canes
remind us of shepherds,
and the star in the apple — of magi.
I will nest boxes
each wrapped with paper and ribbon
so a couple kids can open each
and find the baby from the creche
in the smallest one.
And, of course, there’s the pageant —
the way we incarnate the story
that deepens its truth
in the lives of actors and watchers,
and the more paper-bag, tinfoil,
bathrobe, salad dressing bottle —
for you are always born into our world
in burlap and eggcrate.
But mostly I love the tinsel story
that I only read once,
but have told so many times —
of the spider who quickly wove her web
across the cave entrance
where the weary family slept,
so pursuing soldiers bent down
seeing starlight reflecting on silk thread
rode away into the night.
And so, God, I hang it every year
higher than the dog’s reach,
and wonder what fragile
not publicly recognized thing I already do,
can be turned to the purpose
of saving a child of God.