Nativity Poem: “Infant King”

DETAIL FROM ICON OF THE NATIVITYThis is a poem I was asked to write for the Christmas Eve services at my church this season. It was a blessing to read it on such a meaningful night. It sort of expresses what I’ve been coming to understand lately about surrender and humility, and the impact of Christ’s incarnation on our daily lives. Blessings and peace this Christmas season!

“Infant King”

O God from God and Light from Light,
now resting in a cattle trough.
You lie at the mercy of the things you made:
pink skin prickled by night air’s chill,
tender grip groping for mother’s milk,
fawn-eyes shivering at the newness of it all.

You, whose imagination dreamt the form
of the thing we call pine,
which became both tree and feedbox,
now lie in a rough-hewn cradle made from wood.

You, whose word flung the farthest galaxies,
now can only muster breathless cries
for an emotion which your infant mind
cannot manage to bring into words.
You have become a thing you formed from dust.

Who but the Creator could set aside sovereignty,
shame the world’s power with infancy
and shatter our shackles with a fragile hand?
Though we hid in the shadows,
divorced from your light,
you surrendered heaven,
dove from divinity,
wrapped yourself in our weakness,
and cried in the darkness
under light from the moon you made.

Here again at the foot of your manger,
infant son of the King,
we kneel surrounded by the things we’ve made,
scars and anger,
fear and doubt.
But in your infancy,
we see the hope of surrender,
that we would be filled with you:
in us,
for us,
Emmanuel.