thanksgiving and christmas,

new year’s eve and new year’s day,

all arriving in this sudden segment

of life,

on days concluding school terms

or days beginning fresh times

as the calendars and clocks

carried in our hands

carry us, drag us,

as we breathe, barely,

frantically finding autumn

in passing, then winter,

in seasonal show of sudden shifts

amid our normalcy.

what can we do?

now, what can we do?

can we rest while time rushes by?

can we cherish more than the

food on plates and

lights on trees and

colors all around?

can we choose to glance back,

recalling a purpose for gatherings

during the rush?

turning minds backwards,

hearing tales told and stories read,

imagining sights and sounds,

within narratives of a mary

and a joseph, a baby,

angels and shepherds,

animals and mystery.

glancing again and again,

as we think back,

at the child.

a birth promised but impossible.

a birth with little room

but celebrated.

a birth in a setting of

weakness and poverty and

silence and noise and

no room and this room and

impossible and real and

remembered now.

now. here. in our hurry,

memories glancing back,

songs raising volume

in various languages and voices,

celebrating a belief seeming

impossible, a reality feeling

nearby, a baby believed

to give them all,

to give us all,



This is one of Chris Maxwell’s new poems, and not included in the book. But please pick up a collection of many other poems he has written, which are in the book: a slow and sudden God: 40 years of wonder.