Look, Ma, the cradle is empty.
A manger long abandoned.
Its straw strewn about by errant winds.
Its wood broken down, used as fuel
for some poor shepherd’s fire
or broken apart for an enemy encampment
some millennia ago.
No infant king, waving hands above the hay visible.
The man has grown, walked Judean Hills,
spoke his words, known life’s end:
the way of men.
Promised he would return.
The scene assembles, actors, props
animals brought in for just this day
and the display of hope continues.
See, there’s Mary on the donkey,
Joseph helps her down, the lights dim.
The manger cradle fills once again
A spotlight calls attention to an angel,
shepherds pretend fright as confused sheep
butt heads and shepherds alike.
And then a rush to find the child, kneel
to a bleating, mooing chorus.
Next a camel nips the crown of a king,
wise men with their gifts
shuffle slowly forward.
The tableau complete.
A star falls, the night’s activity ends.
And though the cradle be empty,
the gold, frankincense and myrrh long spent.
His gifts continue: Love, Peace, Joy
He has not abandoned us:
He lives in us. Emmanuel.
God with us.
Come now, long expected, Jesus.
c.2010 Darlene Moore Berg