Every year

Every year
he says, “I love these people.
I'm going to go be with them,
just to walk them through the darkness.”
Every year the angels tell him,
No, this is a bad idea.
It never works.
But the Eternal One nods at him and smiles
a sad little smile,
and he pours himself out
into a great mysterious emptiness,
and he comes.
He always comes
and walks with us,
and every year I walk with him,
he smiles and nods that same smiling nod.

There is the brief moment in the stable—
despite the hardship quite lovely, really—
but then the hard work,
the road, the town square, the disputes....
And then he is taken.
Every year, taken:
shot beside me as we walk,
jailed, deported, lynched, crucified.

I walk on without him,
looking for a welcome place for him,
trying to bear that light,
let it gleam just a little...
And then it gets darker,
until it seems stupid and hopeless and foolish,
and then once again,
the angels shaking their heads
but singing glory anyway,
he comes.
Knowing, he comes,
every year he comes.
And I watch for them to take him,
and they do take him, every year,
and I say,
“The angels are right, this doesn't work.”
He nods and smiles and says,
“Yes it does.”
And he comes again.
And I,
a tiny light in a great emptiness,
already
I am waiting for him.

   —December 3, 2018