Advent 7

Midnight murmurings on Christmas Eve


I do like the story

that all the world’s creatures

wake up at midnight

and find they are speakers.

I wonder a little

at what they might say –

“Snuggle up and get warm”

“Are you loving this hay?” –

but maybe that night

at the start of it all

there were donkeys and

oxen and cows in the stall,

witnessing then

that a baby was born

a clear light, a star,

a fine midnight dawn,

and the whispers might come

as they watched a girl rest

with a smile on her face

and a babe at her  breast,

and a man who had laid her

his cloak on the straw,

and watched her and the babe

from his seat on the floor.

What would they have murmured?

What would they have said

to the lord of the world

lying there, in their shed?

Would they whisper of peace,

or of sleep, or of love, or

just breathe their warm breath

on the child and his mother?

Did they know for an instant

that evil had fled

in the face of this child

lying quiet in their shed?


There is a legend that animals can talk at midnight on Christmas Eve. Wouldn’t that be interesting? 



11 thoughts on “Advent 7

  1. I am loving your advent poems. This one about Jesus birth was especially poignant for me. And I hope you don’t mind me sharing my story today.

    Today, 7th Dec, 2017 is the 50th anniversary of the passing away of our infant son, 17 days old following an operation on a heart defect. Incidentally, it is also a few days passed the 50th anniversary of the first heart replacement operation done in South Africa by Doctor Barnard.

    I love your portrayal of Mary, Joseph and child in this poem.


  2. Echoes of ‘The Oxen’ by Thomas Hardy, one of the few poems I can still recite from childhood:

    Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
    “Now they are all on their knees,”
    An elder said as we sat in a flock
    By the embers in hearthside ease.

    We pictured the meek mild creatures where
    They dwelt in their strawy pen,
    Nor did it occur to one of us there
    To doubt they were kneeling then.

    So fair a fancy few would weave
    In these years! Yet, I feel,
    If someone said on Christmas Eve,
    “Come; see the oxen kneel,

    “In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
    Our childhood used to know,”
    I should go with him in the gloom,
    Hoping it might be so.


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