Nativity, 2022 (Ukraine) by Irenaeus Yurchuk.
Sweet Baby Jesus
Born in the midst of a collapsing empire
Hidden in plain sight from everything and everyone official
When different factions of the religion
were all claiming to be the “truer” one
Each saying if you don’t worship our way
You don’t belong to God.
You were born when a Messiah
Seemed to be around every corner
Lamps were left on at night and demagogues and dynamic cult leaders
Were followed at whim, because people needed hope
And the gulf between who was poor and who was rich
The distinction between who was citizen and who was not
The taste in one’s mouth when people called one another
Foreigner, Outsider, or Different was sour and full of hate
Violence was everywhere
Children, the Poor, The Elderly, The Lonely, the Sex Worker
were Ignored or Forgotten
Laws were passed against anyone deemed Unclean in any way (oh my Queer siblings!)
Jesus Christ, you were born in a time
When no one was receiving proper healthcare
So people banged down your door
for a bit of healing
And my heart aches
With the familiarity, you could be born today
Is this why you have to be born into today’s world?
Have we forgotten why we need you?
Sometimes I wonder if you haven’t returned
Because we haven’t learned enough?
Heretic thought I know
But I sit in the hate and terror and worry Jesus
Jesus Christ, we need you. A baby
A sneak king full of healing and mischevious teachings of Grace
Jesus we need someone who will sit in the dirt with the marginal
and embody the Peace so much that we will sit in the dirt with you.
Sweet baby Jesus, though I know we picture angels, shepherds, & magi
I think that a baby born in the war-torn dark
might be the truth
Help us to sit with that, in the shortest day and longest night I pray.
Feel free to use/adapt/share with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta