After Christmas and Boxing Day, there is a little-known day of observance in the Christian calendar (little-known in my tradition at least) called the Feast of the Holy Innocents. It is the remembrance of the children that were killed by King Herod in Matthew’s telling of the Christmas story. This account stirs remembrance of the story of the Hebrew people in bondage to the Egyptians in the book of Exodus and serves to draw further parallels between Jesus and Moses… but I digress.

It was not this holy-day that inspired my poem, but instead the content of my pediatric rotation during my nursing degree. Nonetheless, as we seek ways to connect with the richness of the liturgical year, I thought this would be an appropriate-enough time to share this poem. Christmas is a hard time for so many. A time where losses are so poignant, and empty chairs are obvious. I am thankful that the Christmas story, one of hope and peace and joy, does not shy away from pain, from loss, and from the realities of human cruelty and suffering.

 

One Little Star

what happens to the world
when another star blacks out
and then blackness fills the place where it once burned
you know that darkness is a presence
its not just an empty void
and it hangs there right beside the lonely moon

and in that shadow creeks and rivers
flood their weary banks with tears
as they slowly make their way out to the sea
and the heaving of the earth
brings the anticipated crack
and the world is surely being
torn apart

now that star that’s wrapped in darkness
is laid to rest here in the ground
and the chasm is lined with tokens of compassion
and the ensuing silence settles
over everything you’ve known
and seems louder than the laughter ever was

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