There are times in our individual lives, in the lives of communities and nations, and now even on this planet, when a catalytic flash seems to weld together our fitful and ambiguous struggles for justice with the divine intention for all of creation. For many of us, that moment, indeed that apocalypse, that revelation, is taking place in Ukraine. So that is where and how I hear the perennial Christmas story today. Here is how it comes to me as we make our way through the familiar rituals and events of this season.
In the darkened road we come upon a crater by a gutted building
where a baby wails among the dead.
Shrieking sirens drown the songs of Christmas
in the scream of missiles bearing down upon the town.
But we can still feel Herod’s fear and greed,
hear the little ones, defenseless, who will topple kings.
In the ruins of a shattered lie
the Word is crying out.
Beneath the golden onion domes lies a body made of wheat and sky
bleeding for us all.
In the burning tanks lie soldiers writhing in the ashes of a fallen empire
pointing speechless at the weeping mother praising God.