Eating Christmas

At year end, the world begins a meal

cooked up by old gospel chefs, a gourmet feast.

Here are ingredients familiar to all:

ONE wildman in wilderness (call him John)

munching on grasshoppers

shouting for change

washing up those willing in a creek;

ONE young teenage mother-to-be named Mary;

ONE no-account descendant of David

the likely disgruntled fiance

yet father-to-be named Joseph from

ONE dusty backwater town

a bump on a knot that mattered not

named Nazareth, lost in

ONE tiny twig of a country

whose back is broken

by an insatiable superpower;

ONE angel named Gabriel

with the persuasive pitch

of a used camel cart salesman

joined by a throng of celestial outsiders;

ONE little cluster of second-class citizen shepherds

tending clumps of woolly sheep;

ONE little town of Bethlehem; at

ONE rickety shed, all mixed in

with supposedly friendly beasts; and finally,

ONE little baby boy.

Though this is removed from the oven,

chilled and served for two thousand years

in bold recitatives, bright arias

and sweet carols, poignant prayers,

triumphal trumpets, and thoughtful meditations

unless all this is chewed over slowly

these characters, creatures, and communities

at the fringe, the margins, the periphery,

all meek and lowly outsiders

it’s a recipe still difficult

for the aloof and mighty to digest.

Angus Watkins

Ashville