A December Nowel1

An expectant mood clung to these
December weeks spent pacing, for
a boy wearing a name uncomely, even
ungainly to newer ways of thinking.

Emmanuel! drifts into banks
of scattered snowflakes; settling on
frost hidden hearts pulsing for birth.
A flake, dusting the eye of countless masses.

But days passed by at Bolt-like speed,
breaking the ribbon at Midnight when
strains of a morning Canticle gave voice
to the mute and narrow winter.  There,

radiance reveled forth! It frolicked about
blazing candles, as the Spirit seemed to
billow up, on a bed of sacred coals
blistering ancient resins – kissing our eyes
with a fragrance thick in tones celestial,
solemn and sweet.

Forever singing the goodness of the Lord2
around an earthy chamber of enthronement
where swirls of hay adorn a bed for the One
and only One…we pause…

Hearts, hands, vestments and voices, gilded
together by the light, smells and sounds.  There
in gentle courtesy – certainly more than giddy –
giving our best, our doddering address
to the wee bairn3.


Veiled in flesh the Godhead see,
Hail the incarnate Deity,
Pleased as man with us to dwell,
Jesus our Emmanuel
Hark! The Herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Numbered notes:
1  –  Nowel – a Christmas song or shout of joy (Old English)
2  –  Psalm 89
3  –  wee bairn – tiny child or baby (Old English/Scottish)


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