First Christmas

Date: November 23, 2021

That night the stars dimmed
in deference to the dominant one
they knew outshone them.
That night a donkey’s breath
and the warmth of a prone cow
heated a straw-lined stable that drew
bemused shepherds with widened eyes
and three learned men who shed
their dust-laden travel robes for eastern finery:
embroidered sleeves, red silk and threads of gold.
That night a young girl knelt
before a manger softened with fodder
to praise the infant she’d carried in her womb
and birthed without mother, aunt or sister
to serve as midwife, comforter.
If she was exhausted, if her eyes craved sleep,
if she wanted privacy after pain,
if she longed to cradle her baby
and guard him from foreign eyes,
she did not show it.
That night, knowing he was born
to minister to others even as a child,
the young girl knelt and prayed,
not minding the stable boards
hard on her knees under the straw.
For that night, that night in a stable
under a dominant star whose light
could not be denied, she was a mother.
She saw how his eyes searched out hers.
That night she was a mother, and even
a Savior needs his mother’s strength and love.


Copyright © by Peggy Eastman, 2018

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