as though on snow
As silent, holy night bestows its sleep
Upon a manger, flanked by grazing sheep,
A peace disturbed by Herod’s anger bold,
A warning by a prophecy foretold.
Quia puer Israel, et dilexi eum
[When Israel was a child, I loved him]
A mother’s sleepless nights, dark thoughts abound.
Her desperate choice while danger gathers 'round,
To flee a home with no place else to go.
Just footsteps left behind, as though on snow.
What links the ancient tale with ours today?
With nothing to rely on but to pray
The hope of safer shores which drives their flight,
A single shining beacon in the night.
et ex Aegypto vocavi filium meum.
[And out of Egypt I called my son.]
And can our hearts be open for the King
Whose face appears in every suffering?
Or must we yet refuse to understand
The Jesus out there lost upon the sand?
The Lamb who bears the sins of all away
Was once a migrant child along His way.
And we are called to bless Him as we may
Though pride and power pull our hearts astray.
Rogate quae ad pacem sunt Jerusalem et abundantia diligentibus te.
[Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: may they prosper who love you.]
So let us, as we softly close the year,
Fill our cups with love and banish fear.
Hold fast the ones whom Herod put to flight,
And bring our darkened world closer to light!
poem ©Jonathan Woody;
Biblical text from Hosea 11:1, Psalm 122:6 (Psalm 121:6 in the Latin Vulgate)