Re-membering Christmas

Two poems, to bring us back to the heartland of Christmas, which was once known as Yule – this time of light returning to the world.

manger leunigI see a twinkle in your eye,
so this shall be my Christmas star
and I will travel to your heart:
the manger where the real things are.

And I will find a mother there
who holds you gently to her breast,
a father to protect your peace,
and by these things you shall be blessed.

And you will always be reborn
and I will always see the star
and make the journey to your heart:
the manger where the real things are.

by Michael Leunig, Poems, 1972-2001

yuleLove As Well As Gifts
What if angels were just people having generous days

and the realms of glory were all the world’s corners from which they came

and the night was silent ’cause no one was crying out in loneliness or pain?

What if coming home for christmas meant you never had to run again

and no bombs dropped and there really were good kings

and all ye faithful came together while having faith in different things.

What if the most wonderful day of the year

was ’cause peace on earth was finally here

no matter what or where we sing

This is my resilient daydream

I call it: joy to the world

I have it all year long

while I make my way through the world

I am not that strong

I crumble often from the truth

like the fact that guns and bombs are still lawful things we use

and there’s too much yet there’s not enough food

and still the void we’re aching with – the pain, the love, the wound

Meanwhile empty tables

meanwhile we sing carols preaching morals that we’re scared of

we are wary more of strangers, giving gifts while building walls

It’s a host of contradictions and christmas won’t fix it

I crave connection as I close off to it.

Can you see me?

Do you hear what I hear, it’s the sadness of humanity

it’s the basic human joy

it’s the bonds thereof, it’s the bombs of lost love

once we all have love enough – o holy night

And by the sun’s returning shine I trust we will

in the meantime let us align our hearts with our goodwill

open arms for strangers seeking refuge in our midst

while welcoming our neighbours with love as well as gifts.

by Tanya Davis, former poet laureate of Halifax, Nova Scotia