Tonight at church we sang Silent Night and I do not understand

because I do not think the night stood by silently

When he ripped a hole in the roof and rapelled umbilically into our repulsive

feed trough

I think that his birth was bloody and that Mary shrieked and sobbed

and he could have been stillborn as he convulsed her 12 or 13 or 14

year old frame

and the excrement so thick on the air that it was more taste than stench

and the baby child blue and cold shrieking and sobbing all the louder

as the other child his mother began to abate, or maybe to pass out from the pain and

malnourishment and infection and frostbite.

It was neither calm nor bright

and no one cleaned up the blood and placenta–not the shepherds, who were most assuredly

children themselves, orphans,

and especially not Joseph, who probably still suspected that he had been cuckolded and

maybe had never seen a birth before

and was not prepared for the child to live or to die in the cave in which he crouched



And this is why I think the night is holy:

because Jesus did not look like Lord at his birth.

He looked like the earth;

specter of Adam and death and

the slimy dark of the unstable


of men and children and women and children

And his tiny lungs quivered and shook when he interceded for us with groans too deep for words.


And who will save us from this body of death?

Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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