Christmas in a broken land


Those were the days when the heat’s fitful haze
turned the blue distant ranges to grey oceans,
and the sun’s morning light in spindling beacons bright
shone yolk yellow and all was stilled motion.

The bricks held their heat, shamed by defeat
they could no longer supply cool shelter;
Children ran slow and heard a bleak crow
caw listlessly over carrion with no one to tell it to

celebrate the arrival of God’s survival –
a new child in the bush down under:
not a plaster saint with blue robes faint,
but a battler, a beauty, God’s wonder.

Not a victory march through a triumphal arch,
but a nail-biter, to get there God’s struggling.
In today’s Australia, God appears a failure,
but God hangs on, power in long-suffering.

Maybe that’s why in the hot and the dry
we remember as kids God’s birthing;
nothing fancy or fussy, just a cowshed and mussy –
God’s total commitment to earthing.

–          Ted Witham, Advent 2013

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