Christmas 2019: A Poem

This Christmas I dreamed
that the mice in our attic wouldn't wake me up
Scuffling around the styrofoam
With the sound of an elephant stamping its feet
at 4 a.m.

This Christmas I dreamed
that my 4-year-old didn't wet the bed
Then walk sheepishly to my room
"Just a little mom, just a little."
and I threw the sheets in the laundry again
before we saw if Santa came.

This Christmas I dreamed
that the excess we lived didn't mean
the poverty of others around the world
and I wouldn't feel powerless to stop it
Just kept hitting order on Amazon
again and again
and reading about Amazon workers with broken arms
and chapped fingers, punching the time clock
in the bathroom.

This Christmas I dreamed
that the candlelight of Silent Night
at church
would make our nights and our churches
and our families and our nation
Holy again
and silent of the anger and fear we felt towards each other
and those who threatened our existence
Even as we threatened it ourselves
with plastics and consumption and heedless irresponsibility.

This Christmas I dreamed
of an old-fashioned tin of cookies
and cheese made from the milk of local cows
and eggs from a henhouse down the road
and suits and ties in church
waiting in the pews 40 minutes early
for grandma and grandpa and uncles and aunts and family
who hadn't gone away
and family who hadn't died
before we were ready.

This Christmas I dreamed
I was as joyful and irreverent and helpful
as a Trader Joe's employee
wearing a festive Hawaiian shirt
and escorting people where they needed to go
and knowing my pleasure was their pleasure
Or is that Chik Fil A?

Is Chik Fil A OK again?
Or Nike?
Or the NFL?
Sometimes I forgot who I was supposed to hate.
Marketers and advertisers said they could teach us morality
where the Church failed. Again.
Instead I find my hope this Christmas
in a babe surrounded by dirt and straw and filthy animals
and love amidst the fear.

This Christmas I dreamed
that shouts of agony
and anger
Might someday be as silent
as the sanctuary on Christmas Eve
after Silent Night and we blew out our candles
Someday our babies and our families and our nation and our world
Might sleep in heavenly peace
In the streets of California
The slums of El Salvador
The cold, loveless towering townhouses of the Upper East Side
The fields of western Minnesota
where we wake again to do God's work
Where this year I said Jesus loved me
And believed it


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