Christmas Came Too Fast

In Bethlehem, we waited.
We waited inside stone walls,
surrounded by columns and ancient
art. We waited, and we
were hungry and tired and nothing
was as we expected it to be.
That day, in Bethlehem,
my feet hurt, and I
was distracted by
the grey wall, so high,
the wall that would keep Mary
and Joseph from entering
the very place God intended
them to be, if they were
to come today.
Inside that overwhelming wall,
my heart was broken and my legs
were aching and my focus
was shattered
long before the star appeared.
Christmas flashed
before my eyes,
my fingers barely grasping
the hope that I was
seeing.
I knelt, confused,
by the marble manger,
and I left with my soul
cracked in frustrating pieces.
I didn’t understand
the things I thought
I understood.
The prison wall and the mosque,
the gun towers and the
olive wood cross
in my pocket…
The chanting in a tongue
Jesus used to whisper,
“Mama.”
“Mama, can I?”
“Mama, will you?”
“Mama, why?”
“Mama, why?”
I didn’t feel
what I expected to feel.
I felt empty, and I wonder
if Mary felt that too.
Did Mary hold a king in her arms
and feel the home inside of her,
hollow without Him?
Her child, her son, her Savior,
already leaving her behind
even as the angels sang
and the shepherds came
and the greatest story ever told
hovered in her hands,
nursing at her breast,
knowing no other love than the love
His mother taught Him.
Christmas came too fast
that day in Bethlehem.
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