It is Monday, December 21, 2020 – I am writing this post sitting on the couch in our hotel room in Bismarck, North Dakota just before 7 AM CST. My wife and child lay still in bed. I awoke early since I need to get my body trained to start waking up early again for work which I begin in two weeks. I am sitting in a dark room; the only light is the dimmest setting on my laptop. In darkness in front of me, I hear my child’s sound machine.
I found this a perfect setting to share with you a very simple yet powerful poem from one of my favorite Catholic writers – G. K. Chesterton. The reason I am choosing this poem with you today is that I find myself at this very moment in complete stillness with my family, just as the Christ-Child and Mary in this poem.
And as much will change for the Holy Family in the weeks ahead in the liturgical cycle, there will be lots of change for my family, a flight of sorts that will continue to bring us into a foreign land. I find myself like St. Joseph in the Sacred Scriptures – listening to God’s voice, taking His direction, trusting in Him, and keeping watch over my family. Although a grown man, St. Joseph allowed himself to be a child of God and hear God’s voice speaking to him in this way. This very simple yet powerful poem can do the same for us if we permit it.
A Christmas Carol
The Christ-child lay on Mary’s lap,
His hair was like a light.
(O weary, weary were the world, But here is all aright.)
The Christ-child lay on Mary’s breast,
His hair was like a star.
(O stern and cunning are the kings, But here the true hearts are.)
The Christ-child lay on Mary’s heart,
His hair was like a fire.
(O weary, weary is the world, But here the world’s desire.)
The Christ-child stood on Mary’s knee,
His hair was like a crown,
And all the flowers looked up at Him,
And all the stars looked down.
I would encourage you to read this poem to your children. In a world with so much noise and movement, may we come to know the stillness and the silence this poem places us.