Mary is waiting,
every new ache
ironically raising a stir of hope.
Joseph is waiting,
to keep those crazy dreams at bay.
The angels are waiting
and warming up their voices for the cantata,
the altos humming a perfect fifth
below the melody.
don’t yet know they are waiting,
but they are, eyes darting unconsciously skyward.
The sheep and goats are waiting,
grazing while they wait,
in the eternal wisdom of sheep and goats.
The goats are waiting
to see if they get written out of the tale
at the end.
The sheepdogs are waiting
baring their teeth at malevolent shadows
that blink with yellowy eyes
and slink away.
-temporarily still just a manger,
corncrib, not crib-
is empty but ready for the spotlight.
Zechariah and Elizabeth
are up all night with a three-month-old
nicknamed “Jumping Jack,”
smelling of curdled milk and damp nappies,
but they are waiting too.
The Magi are scrutinizing the star-charts,
arguing, debating, pointing furiously,
and redoing the math to no avail,
subconsciously preparing a shopping list
because the signs have spoken.
The Star is waiting, flaring on cue,
testifying to portents and prophecies
saying all that is needed
simply by being itself.
God rubs her hands together in anticipation,
like all parents
when they know they have found
the perfect gift.
So we wait too,
on this longest night.
And while we wait, let us
stand in awe at the vault of stars,
who serve as witness and stage for wonders;
breathe in stillness and alertness in this present moment
offer up simple gratitude for the gift of hope
sing along with celestial concerts
practice peace for the Prince of Peace
in gratitude that God came to dwell
as one of us
making the Creator human
and the created holy
infusing divine love into finite flesh
that we might dance with God
and truly love one another.