One Lonely Christmas Eve (Poem with audio)

One Lonely Christmas Eve (Poem with audio)

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A new Christmas-themed artwork dubbed the “Scar of Bethlehem” by secretive British artist Banksy is displayed at his Walled-Off Hotel in Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank on December 20, 2019. A security wall seemingly hit by a mortar grenade shows the ‘Star’ of Bethlehem above a traditional nativity scene. (Photo by AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP)

One lonely Christmas Eve, a painfully Silent Night
No faithful shepherd seeking Him, no choir of angels singing
Alone in this bitter grief, like a phantom hiding from sight
No one saw me weeping till I chose to write these lines

A public declaration of pain buried inside, left behind,
in lost years, lost in tears, entombed in emotional shadows.
Often too hurried in life to give serious thought to writing,
Still caught in this battle of definitions, mentally always fighting.

Banksy’s ‘Scar of Bethlehem’ stretches from heart to heart.
The bitter reality of a stone-walled past sketched in his art
She keeps fencing me off; I keep shooting her mortars—
How can we live in peace unless Christ, once born, restores us?

The Advent season had me waiting, waiting long,
With longing heart, heartbroken in hope of salvation to come.
But time told a different story, of failing and failing again
while holding on to this straw-filled cradle of hope living within.

Hopes unfulfilled, living in sin, driven by passions driving me mad
No controlled will, still giving in, living the fashion of habits so bad
A messy stable my home, feeling homeless in heart
Who shall tame this beast within—like the ox and the ass?

Where are the shepherds seeking the Lord born in Bethlehem?
Where are the angels singing glory to God in the highest realm?
Where are the wise men taking the gospel to distant lands?
Count the cost when your seeking, and singing, and preaching ends!

No stars to guide this wandering child, now questioning God’s leading
No candle guiding me through the dark, my stumbling soul now bleeding
Where is the light when I need it? I’m tired of fighting tears
tearing myself to pieces—yet finding in Him my only Source of healing

Where is this Prince of Peace pursued by the Kings of the East?
Where are the Christmas hymns of hope for sinners like me—
of sinners the least? At war with the beast within,
warned in a dream of Herod killing innocence in the streets,

Mothers are weeping, crime is sweeping our cities
Children listening claptrap, stab jab one another to death
A hollow church rings its copper bells with hollow regret
Still burying Herod’s victims without the courage to strike back

But there he lies in a manger, lovingly wrapped in linen
God’s Christmas gift to all mankind to help them stop from sinning
and never will the killing stop until we become like them–
Christlike in Bethlehem, as shepherds, angels, and wise men

The birth of Christ within—this is the gospel story
Out of our weaknesses made strong and giving God the glory
The power of God dwelling within this frail human body
A conqueror born through faith, knowing that Jesus loves me

© J.D. Astley, 2019-2020

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