This is one I wrote back in December '99 for a Christmas concert at the Cosmo with the Vineyard crew. Tonya Gordon pressed me for something to be read during a scene change, thought you might like it.
A Telling of Christmas
All scenes open in the shadowy afterglow of the expulsion where furtive figures are darting about, stealing the occasional fearful, backwards glance with eyes backlit by Eden’s sword. Scurrying ‘cross crag and plain like a thousand new-born spiders, each one’s eyes slow to exchange heaven’s glory for the sun’s baleful glow, they stumble; they fall. They rise and run, fleeing the blast wave of love’s agonising sorrow. Their destination defying description as they despairingly devise an escape from the Everywhere. Every step confounded by darting shards of fire shooting through the coalescing shadows on the ground newly impregnated with a far flung hope. Shafts of shekinah splay across the earth from the convulsing cloud of glory and veiling blackness that rises from the place of communion. A living explosion, disgorging its energies before passing from visible to the invisible. From sight to remembrance and rote. The last eruption before it is engulfed sends a finger of eternal fire screaming from above to burn unseen words of promise upon the belly of the earth. With a final shudder creation shoulders her burden and sends every last soul sprawling against the unyielding earth where they lie in trembling expectation of they know not what. As the cosmos desperately absorbs the last ebbing waves of the Creator, like clouds stretching for the fleeting horizon, there comes a silence. Every hearty feels it tearing through its very being like a rose torn through grasping fingers. Every heart waits in agonised knowing bearing the crushing weight of regret. Every heart as one releases new-born sorrow and tormented remorse at the beckoning of a wordless scream. A scream that would find its voice echoing from the throat of another in His throes of death. Every heart forever recesses within its chambers of thought an ember glowing upon the altar of the soul; a question. Are we forsaken!
Across the ages every dying generation burns this yearning upon the mind of the next. Stumbling through the millennia under the sun’s dim glow they weave a tapestry of woe. Their grasping hands and prying eyes falling endlessly victim to the taunts and secret whispers of the dark jester. A touch; a prod in a world of darkness luring away the gaze from fleeting bursts of rapturous, heaven-born sight. Gifts veiled in blackness soothe clutching hands only to pierce the expectant bosom pressed close in ardent embrace. Few find in their ruminations and reaching the gentle hand of hope. Few feel the fiery life of its fervent grip. Fewer still know its passionate purpose.
Now at last, though, there come upon this burdened sphere footfalls, stepping ever forward with destiny’s power in every stride. From the ranks of the hopeless blind with an unknown fire pursuing their purpose they have come forth, beckoned by promise. Smouldering remnants of the final finger of fire glow curiously beneath their every step. Even dark death is held in thrall at this sight, his hands fallen feebly at his sides. They come, from the sands of the east they are drawn on by the burden of the whisper that thunders. Reverberating on the chords of their souls the words; go…witness…the King is come, are an urgent , unrelenting and enigmatic call. Even on the last league of the journey there is no release from the summons, only a pounding of expectation. The hidden councils of their hearts warming by the glow of a long neglected ember pulsing anew upon its altar.
Hope stands naked at the door of a stable, confounded by the regal heralding of such earthen extravagance. Ears, once attuned to the eternal, ripple with unexpected elation at the murmurings of an infant. A shiver of rapture showers through limbs heavy with stupefied wonder. These last steps come only at the behest of the whisper of Paternal pride; come…see…the King is here. Upon a bed of hay humble knees find their home and eyes too are drawn down to the babe wrapped in simplistic splendour. Here, eyes strained in their search of the heavens lock once again with the eyes that search the earth. In a moment the torrential flow of the centuries is released in solemn sobs.
Now, as before, is the communion.
Now, darkness knows fear, for this very night the light of the world has returned!