The classic nativity tells a lovely story but the reality was a lot messier. Perhaps the message of the angels sounded as preposterous then as now, given the state of the world. What can we make of it? A poem by Catherine Masterman.
“Joy to the world”, sang the angels that night;
“Peace to all men”. And the skies shone with light.
But whatever came of that heavenly pledge?
For just here and now life seems right on the edge.
Where was the peace when to Egypt they fled?
What joy could there be as the babies lay dead?
Slain by the word of a paranoid king;
Witnessed by those who had heard angels sing.
I wonder if stories of thousands of years,
Of people and families, their joy and their tears,
Are enough for the message we can’t get it right;
For nothing and everything causes a fight.
We’re faced with two choices: Is this all that’s there?
Is it just down to us to decide if we care?
To do what we can for world, family and friends
And accept when it’s over that that’s where it ends.
Or….did the angels sing?
Did they point to a hope that lies deep in our soul,
That everything matters; we’re part of a whole.
We’re held by a love that is vast and immense,
Even when what we’re going through doesn’t make sense.
If true joy and peace isn’t ours straightaway,
They gave heaven’s pledge that it will be one day.
Their song was a promise that broke through the fear,
Proclaiming to shepherds that God was so near.
So near at his birth, through his life and his death,
Sharing our suffering, until his last breath.
And then when he rose on that first Easter Day,
His body was new, all the pain gone away.
He promised He’s with us still, though we can’t see.
And through Him we glimpse how things one day will be.
A new world: creation, restored to its soul.
All brokenness banished; just perfect and whole.
Now it is messy, of that there’s no doubt.
Love and peace whisper: Hate has a shout.
But even in darkness, His hope can shine through,
Kindness and love can show faith to be true.
We might feel connections that can’t be explained;
Love that forgives, though impossibly strained,
Friendship persisting whatever the cost,
All echo His love for the broken and lost.
So join with the angels, and sing out their song,
Peace still eludes us but they were not wrong.
The hope of the world came to earth Christmas night.
He asks us to trust Him, and follow His light.”
- Originally published on the Grain of Sand blog.