Publish the Word
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Yeshua -- 6, Nativity

In the beginning. . .
was the word

 The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it. Psalms 68:11

vi  the Nativity

 

And it came to pass that a decree went out

     from Caesar Augustus in Rome, an imperial

edict, a census summons from Portugal to Persia

 

that all must return to their ancestral homes

     to register, so Joseph and his espoused wife,

due now to deliver, joined the southward flowing

 

pilgrim river beside the Jordan's snaking silver:

     Damascus jewelers, Babylonian silk merchants,

peasant farmers, tradesmen, women, children, camels,

 

donkeys, goats and kids clogged the route.  Galilee

     to Bethlehem -- Hebrew house of bread --

shepherd-king David's home, he of ancient kin

 

to the plodding couple, was five days trek: under

     Gilboa's peaks, Tirzah, Shiloh, the precipitous

vale of tears, Bethel, Ramah, past arrays of olives,

 

tamarisks, firs and figs, travelers encamped by springs,

     on hillocks, the whole nightly, starlit cosmos in flux.

No vacancy was the first sign.  Shepherds in their outdoor

 

inns and meadows another.  They found a homey cave

     domesticated animals would share: its fragrancy

of oat and barley straw, ox offal, the lowing cattle,

 

bunting roost, an air musty-moist with breath plumes

     for a rustic, lively nativity.  Did the newborn squall

to find himself so human?  The madonna glowed post

 

partum.  And in nearby fields sheep tenders stared aghast.

     A Hallelujah choir of light-robed seraphim sang out:

Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, good will.

 

The spackled sky blazed as if on fire.  A blue-glint sapphire

     of a star gleamed overhead.  The father gazed down,

marvel-struck.  The Father, in his heaven, marveled too.