BOXING UP THE MANGER SCENE
I stare at the empty houses and the disheveled streets- streets of tissue paper and battery operated candles- of glitter and of stringed lights- and though I expect the vacancy to make me sad, I feel a sense of cheery urgency instead. I glance over to the table, stripped all but for a vase of clean kept flowers- and then to the bare handrail and down to the bunches of shedding dried leaves all over the floor- like someone died, well no, actually not at all like someone died. More like someone went on a very important trip and had no time to pack.
I smile back at the empty houses, and let my mind wander behind the footsteps of a tired donkey carrying a tired mother and father with their tired newborn. I imagine the trail of swaddling clothes that were allowed to come off when they were caught on a hook and there was no time to unhook them- and then I imagine the visitors wondering at the haste with which a king of such great power could be running off- where did he have to go?? What did he have to do??
Ah and so then that is the answer I suppose- that's what it means when I feel like I didn't wrap the presents up carefully enough or I didn't relax or watch enough movies or play enough songs or prepare room like I said I would- I guess that's exactly what it means when I wake up tired every morning and long for the sound of bells awakening and putting me to sleep and the sleep, the sleeping in heavenly peace- I see why it cannot last. And it's eleven again and I know I've not done everything I needed to do today and the Christmas tree sits unlit. And yet when I close my eyes to the ordinary music- I see Him wink at me, with all the tender wit of Santa Clause and fathers and mothers and goodness, wink at me, and from under His shepherd's cloak He pulls out a piece of hay, (or maybe it was a Christmas tree branch)He says
See I didn't forget- I just had places I needed to go. And so do you.