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  • Dan FitzPatrick

Cold


December 2017

It can be cold

in Judea

in wintertime.


A young girl sits

on a donkey,

heavy with child.


Weary from travel

and troubled

to find no welcome

in the place

of their destination.

A town which had witnessed

the birth of a great king

who loved God

and ruled Israel

for forty years.


Her husband,

new to that role,

could find no shelter

for them

in this place of his forebears,

for many also had come

at that time

to be counted.


Head of

this soon-to-be family,

and greatly distressed

at the prospect

of failure

in meeting

this most basic human need.


All the more so

given

the weight

of the secret, awesome

responsibility

known only to them.


Providentially,

they learn of a cave

where they may spend their nights

in the company of animals.


Into this sad estate

the man leads his

pregnant wife,

enduring humiliation

as the price

for warmth

and shelter.


The woman, too,

accepting

the proffered lodgings

without complaint

though so very far

from what she had

imagined

as the birth space

for her child.


In the fullness

of time

the child is born.

A son,

destined for greatness,

laid swaddled

in a feeding trough

in a cave

with beasts of burden

his sole attendants.


Soon visitors come,

shepherds

summoned there

by distant voices.

Untroubled by

the rough surroundings,

their eyes behold

a sight unseen

and unexpected

and yet, foretold.


For there in that manger

lay Immanu’el,

king of kings,

God incarnate,

destined to rule

a new, heavenly, kingdom

whose end shall never come.


It is cold

in Connecticut

this winter.


Lights stream

though many windows

framing symbols

celebrating

the upcoming

holiday season.


This Christmas,

let us welcome

that child king

and give him shelter

in the rough surrounding

of our hearts.

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