Now, at last the Nativity's out of its box,
and been put on the shelf for display.
There's the sheep and a donkey, a camel and ox;
baby Jesus asleep in the hay.
While the shepherds have taken their place on the right,
all the wise men have staked out the left.
Their containers with fragrance appear to be light,
but that chest with the gold shows some heft.
I am somewhat perplexed why there's magi at all!
Would they not be some two years away?
If I placed them in sand in a room down the hall --
never mind, they are here. Let them stay.
There's a shepherd who's standing and one kneeling down;
there's a third with a lamb on his neck.
And I wonder if others did not come to town,
and why some of the flock made the trek.
So familiar -- this scene -- that is seen every year:
out of storage, displayed, then returned.
Was that night truly silent? Or midnight so clear?
Is there anything new to be learned?
Were there really three wise men? Or two? Maybe five.
Were they kings or magicians or seers?
Surely many came with them to help them survive --
could the trip not have lasted for years?
Does it matter if Jesus was born in a shed?
Or a stable, a house or a cave?
It was Love that was laid in that rough manger bed;
it was Love that would conquer the grave.
From the time we assemble, for Christmas, our crèche,
to the moment we take it apart,
may traditions we hold blend with musings afresh
ever deepen that Love in our heart.
This poem won first place for the December 2020 poetry contest