The Morning After
By Danny A. Belrose of Independence, MO, USA
For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this. —Isaiah 9:6–7 NRSV
So silent now—the angels’ song, the distant sound of beating wings.
Star, stable, manger scene—nothing but a fading dream.
Sleepy shepherds greet the day their misty memories burned away.
Just another natal night—a father, mother, peasant child
not unlike all others.
Was there music in the air? Did the wind deceive them?
Were the stars ablaze last night? Did grander hopes conceive them?
Hillside hopes are level now. Dawn has swallowed joy.
Morning breaks, shepherds wake, grazing sheep and bleating lambs
lie within their keeping.
Forgotten now, this baby boy nestled in a feeding trough
—a manger bed for sleeping.
No king or queen is born this way.
No wonders flood the sky today on this the morning after.
Nativity? A mystery. Factual tale or fable?
For some it doesn’t matter.
Every child is God’s bright “Yes” and warrants angels singing
whose unseen wings soon fade away
dispersed by muted living.
And we who bow on bended knee before a stable praying,
who celebrate with families this sacred time of sharing
with colored lights and packages,
with food and fun and laughter,
WILL we hear the beat of wings
and bless each child’s nativity
on the morning after?
Christmas Prayer Phrase
I ponder the mystery being born in me.
Invitation to Spiritual Practice
Spend a few moments dwelling in God’s presence. Pay attention to where your heart feels drawn into prayer. What words, images, or themes in this story lead you to reflect on your own faith journey? What is God’s invitation to you this day?