Art & Culture

Nativity

I.

There was no room but each excuse had its own space,

Every negation required its own dimensions.

Comfort of course demands numerous metres squared,

Excludes de rigueur the rest of the human race.

Snobbery too has its own rules and conventions;

Knows that such grandeur cannot with the poor be shared.

Thus it was their own fault, they were really the ones to blame.

Presuming to find an open door when such doors

Were not for them was simply not knowing their place.

They and only they were the cause of their shame.

Their ignorance of society’s basic laws

Was at best plain common and at worse a disgrace!

There will never be room for the poor 

Because the rich will always want more.

II.

And so He came poor, to be born poor, in a cave,

Giving divine splendour to poverty and need,

Making a rough stable His palace, a manger

And a cross His throne. He the supreme hero, brave

In His self-stripping, exalted a whole new breed

Of humans to be the true and gravest danger

To the established order and its status quo.

Not ethnic or social nor born of flesh and blood,

No nation state, no gens, no class or favoured caste,

But simply those who wishing it bring themselves low,

Who make themselves seeds in the deepest, darkest mud,

Who are first by happily becoming the last.

This is the biggest threat to our society

And its vain claims, its fiercest foe: humility.

III.

Shepherds and foreigners, unclean in all senses,

The only witnesses, with angels, of His birth,

Stinking of sheep and spices, dirty by grime and grease,

See what the holy nation, for all its intense

Zeal, failed to see in not grasping the divine worth

Of a king not wrapped in bright gold but a lamb’s fleece.

So the first were last and last first, the invited

To the banquet failed to attend, but those compelled

To enter made their humble and awkward way in.

While outcasts watched in wonder the child, delighted

To adore Him, the chosen ones stayed out, still held

By their laws, and saw in love’s openness a sin.

His love is open to all who accept it, all who choose

To enter His stable, be they sinners, pagans or Jews.



Fr Joseph Evans is a Catholic priest and member of the Opus Dei prelature. He has been a journalist and youth worker, and is currently a university chaplain in Manchester. He is co-founder and Editorial Director of Adamah, which he sees as bringing together some of his great passions: good writing, intelligent and honest discussion, and helping young people achieve their full potential.

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