Questions for the Hay: An Advent Poem

Witness of that Light- © Jan Richardson.

Our church has been exploring a series for Advent on “Jesus and the Community of Creation,” looking at some of the overlooked players in the birth story of Jesus. In the second week of Advent, we’ve been looking at the birth story from the perspective of the hay, and I wrote this poem as a reflection on its place in welcoming Jesus.


What did it feel like to be a resting place for Jesus?
To follow Mary’s womb
as the second member of Creation
that hosted the Lord of hosts,
held his small, brown frame
freshly covered in blood, vernix, and lanugo?

Was his head disproportionately big-
as if the Mind of God were too vast
to be contained by human form
and would flop over if not supported by your
soft, foraged blooms?
Or was it perfectly proportioned-
round and bright,
like a halo in the dark night?

What did his cries sound like?
Were they loud and sharp,
high-pitched expulsions echoing through time and space
to emphatically announce God’s arrival on earth?
Or were they soft and low,
rolling in harmony with the bellowing cows
and bleating lambs-
the fist worshippers to greet our King?

What filled the atmosphere around you
at the event of his birth?
Was the air electric,
charged with the delight of miracle,
the energy of heaven,
the fulfillment of promise?
Or was everything quiet and reverent,
slowed and rendered speechless
by the tiny, infant King?

Was it both? And all? And so much more?

What was it like to know that your existence
was enough-
to realize that your presence was all that was needed
to welcome the Divine?

Co-Pastor @bethelcommunitysl | Director of Advocacy @fphayward | pastor, activist, writer | married to @eubanksme | co-author of @lentenlament | she/her

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