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This time around there was no doubt;
The stars were watched, signs read aright,
And urgent messengers sent out
To find the new babe born that night.

Then, his precise location learned,
All of the earth's great leaders went
To see the Saviour who'd returned;
Both CEO and President,

Dictators, UN delegates,
Church clerics with their solemn prayers,
Fund managers and heads of states,
And all the Forbes list billionaires.

While to the east and west was beamed
The breaking news: "Christ born again!"
With updates and live footage streamed
To YouTube and to CNN;

Then -- the announcer's voice here broke --
Before the crib they humbly knelt
And, Teleprompted, smoothly spoke
In tones sincere and truly felt;

"O Child, both light and life you bring --
O Child, what would you have us do?
What gifts to give, what hymns to sing
To reverence and honor you?"

"O, bring to me no gems or gold,
But honor others in their need
And freely give the wealth you hold,
To vanquish now your ravening greed;

And sing no hymn, but rather hear
From all around the desperate cries;
Go forth to help both far and near
The multitudes that you despise;

No more exploit, but fairly pay
Each of the workers you employ
And let all children learn and play,
So each may know a life of joy.

And let the air be fresh and clean,
And let my creatures freely roam,
And turn your ravaged wastes to green
So all may share this world as home.

All conflict cease, all debts forgive;
Seek those you've scorned to make amends;
And from this day forth truly live
The precepts each of you pretends.

And speak no longer in my name
Nor put my image to misuse
For all your deeds of greatest shame
Have taken me as your excuse."

The simple words rang clear and stark;
Applause was heard worldwide -- but lo!
The faces of the kings grew dark
And all their tone was one of woe.

The angry mutters filled the room:
"Such sacrifice, such rapid change...
It's quite a lot that you presume.
What do you offer in exchange?

Indeed, an infant still (though crowned
By some quirk of astronomy) --
How could you know such things are bound
To wreck the world economy?"

"My Father's world so bright and fair
Was made not for your kind alone
But for my creatures everywhere;
How dare you claim it as your own?

How dare with casual cruelty take
My Father's gift of human life
And buy and barter it to make
A pawn in all your scheming strife?

Now, through the time of your own birth,
I offer you this chance unique:
Together make this fragile Earth
The longed-for paradise all seek.

Who heeds the warning that I bring?
Who comes in answer to my call?
For if you seek to be a king,
A servant you must be to all."

The seven billions rejoiced;
The lords all tore their clothes and wept
And ominous predictions voiced
As, innocent, the Christ Child slept,

And looking on without a word
The cleric who had found the place;
Head humbly bowed at what he'd heard,
A thoughtful smile upon his face.

The servers crashed, the press phones rang,
Stocks slumped, and Tweets flew thick and fast,
While in the streets the flash mobs sang
The ancient fallen age had passed;

And as the new dawn brilliant broke --
The cheers rose high, the chimes rang wild --
In slipped the one who never spoke
And silent slew the sleeping child.

Cross-posted from For background on my Advent Canticle project, see Introduction.

Previous Advent Canticle entries:

Prelude (An Advent Canticle)
"He came without clamor" (December 1, An Advent Canticle)
"O in the fields the blossoms blow" (December 2, An Advent Canticle)
"It started in November" (December 3, An Advent Canticle)
"It was the usual tedious family gathering" (December 4, An Advent Canticle)
"It started with the news that Caspar brought." (December 5, An Advent Canticle)
"Varus, old boy, it's been a dreadful year." (December 6, An Advent Canticle)
"Lully, lullay, lullaby" (December 7, An Advent Canticle)
"And so at last diplomacy had failed..." (December 8, An Advent Canticle)
"Come, open your eyes..." (Prelude II, December 9, An Advent Canticle)
"And every year the weather gets more squirrely" (Dec. 10, An Advent Canticle)
"Fear Not!" (December 11, An Advent Canticle)
"I quit!" (December 12, An Advent Canticle)
"Midwinter Nocturne" (December 13, An Advent Canticle)
"Some say, on that first morning..." (December 14, An Advent Canticle)
"For the Children of the Sandy Hook Tragedy" (December 15, An Advent Canticle)
"On Employees Who Take Too Much Initiative" (December 16, An Advent Canticle)
"Sing a New Song..." (December 17, An Advent Canticle)

Originally posted to Green Canticle on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 06:06 AM PST.

Also republished by Anglican Kossacks, Street Prophets , and Indigo Kalliope.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Reading Bonhoeffer for Advent, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    God Is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas, while the Child sleeps safe among my cats. Best to keep Her hidden until She is ready to take the next step...


    by raincrow on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 02:07:23 PM PST

    •  Heh. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      raincrow, 2thanks

      I just realized that I never once in the verse referred to the gender of the newborn Christ Child.

      Yet somehow I envisioned It as male.

      And here I consider myself a feminist.

      Interesting the effect that cultural stereotypes have on us, even after we think we've tossed them aside.

      •  Nothing at all wrong with a feminist envisioning (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        a male child. Feminism is for all of us. :D

        (For some reason when I imagined a baby sleeping among my cats, the baby turned out to be a girl so I just went with my imagery.)


        by raincrow on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 10:42:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I was talking to a close friend (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          raincrow, 2thanks

          about Messianic prophecies (in Christianity and Judaism - he happens to be Jewish) and he compared the popular Christian idea of the "Second Coming" - i.e. a Christ figure who will return and instantly, magically fix all the problems we've created -- to a sort of "Cosmic Maid". (He was obviously not impressed with this sort of thinking, and neither am I.)

          My response: "Well, obviously it will have to be a woman this time. Who else would come along and clean up everyone else's mess?" ;-D

          •  Dang! I hadn't thought of the mess cleanup as (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Eowyn9, 2thanks

            a PROCESS, I envisioned it as a magic-wand, all-things-are-possible-with-God POOF! So the sex of the person doing the poofing never mattered much...

            As an only recently minted "churched Christian" I never thought about it one way or the other because I am not at all Messianic. Still, now that I'm about to be ordained as an elder in my church, I feel obligated to work with Advent imagery and see if it speaks to me in a way that will allow me to participate more deeply in it, so as to be in better harmony with my congregation.


            by raincrow on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 11:22:28 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I would very highly recommend (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              raincrow, 2thanks

              the works of Brian McLaren and Rob Bell, both active in the "Emerging Church" movement. In particular, McLaren's "A New Kind of Christian" trilogy, followed by his "A New Kind of Christianity." And Rob Bell's "Love Wins."

              Definitely a much healthier way to think about Advent/Second Coming imagery than the "Cosmic Maid" sort of thing. :D

  •  ... I'm a bad person (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    because after my first thought, which was a rather grim "You know that's what would happen" ...

    my second thought was "Well, that's a bit more efficient than last time, isn't it?"

    * hangs head in shame *

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