The malls fall silent. Streets are empty now
and restless children try to fall asleep.
The midnight service, candlelit, an hour
before is over. Silence blesses each
exhausted parent. Huddled on a couch
we whisper, wondering if the choices we
have made will satisfy: we think of how
we’ve planned and shopped, and rest now by the tree.

But all the festive decorations, all
the gifts, cannot compare to one lone birth,
cannot replace the story of a fall,
an aching people, or this groaning earth.

And Mary gently holds an infant in her arms
and vows to keep him safe from every harm.

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