Across sixteen centuries, Augustine says to me:
“Let us not resist his first coming,
so that we may not dread the second.”
But, your Excellency, have you seen my list?
Dear Bishop, would you not resist?
His coming comes with expectations—
Luminations, decorations, premature celebrations,
Cards with cheery salutations,
Gifts with festive presentations,
Increased charitable donations,
Familial assemblies with assumptions and presumptions,
Ecclesiastic exhortations to prayerful meditations.
Now, do I feast upon these culinary delectations?
And make those blesséd gingerbread confections
With their lavish–no, ostentatious–habitations?
O hallowed one, have you seen my little ones–
The ever escalation of their unbridled jubilation,
Their boisterous, their clamorous, their obstreperous anticipation?
You could say I have some reservations.
“Peace, child, put down your ammunition.
Advent does not warrant your audacious aggravation.
Why is this the source of your inner irritation?
Surely it’s an aberration–’cause this is the Incarnation:
The infant king heralding your very own salvation.
His coming was not some cursory, some fleeting visitation.
It’s an enduring revelation bringing full on exculpation.
It deserves your contemplations, acclamations, proclamations–
Not your feeble hesitations.
It’s a reconciling revolution bringing peace within your walls.
It’s a total transformation bringing joy within your halls.
I see no swords upon your mantle, no spears within your house.
You have pruning hooks for pruning and plough shares for your plows.
You stand within the gates, your feet are shod with shoes.
You live within his kingdom, all violence he subdues.
Now lay down your tortured nouns, lay them down upon the ground.
Pick up those instruments of peace, and decorate the town.
Peace be with you, little lamb, peace be ever in your heart.
Peace be with your little children, who chose the better part.”