Not then; and never since
Have we quite reached the stable, King and Prince,
Nor clearly seen the manger
As shepherd saw it, and as money-changer,
Nor worshiped with our hearts the small
Body which bore the weight of miracle;
But stand, have stood forever in our night
While the beloved Baby made of light
Sleeps in the stillness that his Father sent
Where animals’ eyes are eloquent.
And if (O God) I move from my self and come
And call the stable suddenly heaven and home
And bend my scarred unvirgin knee:
Receive, O Word, dumbstricken me.
– Marion Armstrong. ‘Gift’, The Christian Century, 22 December 1965, 1575.