e-mail us

Christmas Poetry

The Christmas Nitty-Gritties

Poor folk in our mountains and
“Illegals” in our cities --
Will these people bring to mind
The Christmas nitty-gritties?

“What good can come from Nazareth”
out there in Galilee?
Why are they in Bethlehem,
that no ’count family?

What hopes and fears does Jesus dream
up there on Heaven’s throne?
The dreams of those he traveled with,
exiled, oppressed, alone.

--Fr. Michael Burton Roark
Salisbury, Md.

What is Christmas?

I’m tired of the tinsel,
and the jingle of the minstrels,
and their jivin’ advertisin’
emphasizin’ shopping days.

I’m sick of all the pictures
emphasizin’ old Saint Nick’las,
and the real live jive of Santas
in the halls of shopping malls.

Decorating all the nation
for big sales anticipation
makes me really want to shout:
“What is Christmas all about?”

“What is Christmas?”

Christmas is a child!
Who was born, like you and me.
Who was born for you and me!
And this baby is “for free”!

--Fr. Raymond F. Sullivan, MM
Maryknoll, N.Y.

The Infant’s Eyes

The light from his face was nothing
To cause one to cover the eyes,
To stand back in awe,
To stir the silent, secret places of the heart.

His was only a tiny infant face,
Smudged with dust here and there,
With small lips that quivered from the cold
And framed by straw-entangled hair.

Yet, something in the eyes
Told of worlds where light never fades,
Where warm winds blow
And tears never fall.

It was the eyes
That made the heart beat faster,
That held the mind spellbound,
That awakened dreams of eternal days,
Life unending,
Love forever everywhere.

--Fr. Augustine John Moore
Espanola, N.M.

Christmas Flowering

The bracts have had
their hours of darkness.
Saint Lucy’s light in high
relief shines on the 13th.
This branch cut. So pure,
the albescent blood of Christmas
pours forth as genesis of change,
conveyed by Gabriel
in the naming of Your name

--Kathleen Gunton
Orange, Calif.

Christmas Shopping

Hope is the coin of my Christmas shopping.
I fondle it in my pocket, warm, comforting, familiar.
On what to spend it? For myself?
On love enduring, so steadfast that
It withers not with death or disaffection.
But for my others? Better spent for them:
On meaning for their lives.
On values, clear and beckoning.
A deepening of pain and joy to stretch their souls to grow.
But is my focus still too small?
What of those whose faces I can’t see?
On freedom to choose and not just endure.
On power that enables and creates.
Yet what of nations locked in stalemate,
Insanity poised and “holy” wars
Ready to annihilate us all?
Dare I spend my hope on such a visionary dream?
A world of justice and of peace
Where other people’s needs are rights
Seen by all as equal to their own.

But Christmas is of miracles.
I need not make the choice.
My tiny coin of hope can buy it all.
The revelation blinds in its simplicity.
Love, justice, joy and meaning --
The Christmas gifts wait only our enfleshment.
We can never be born enough.

--Helen Fitzgerald
East Hampton, N.Y.

Where are the Women of Nativity?

Angels, shepherds, magi-majesty
all recorded in history;
but annals lack a certain clarity.
Where are the women of nativity?

To name one “she” seems
charity (that none were
there … absurdity!)
No shepherd’s spouse
for hospitality
or woman of maturity?
No female hand
of domesticity
or midwife with ability?
No girl-child’s brimful
curiosity to see
the babe
in a livery?

A fertile, feminine
blessed His birth …
yet, lost are all
in anonymity -- Oh!
Where are the women of nativity?

Sophia Wisdom of Divinity,
until all recognize our ministry,
endow our kind with tenacity; for
We are the women of nativity.

--Pat Mings
Idaho Falls, Idaho

Use the link below to read previous Poetry pages. Use your browser's Back button to return to this page.

1999 in poetry

Poems should be limited to about 50 lines and preferably typed. Please send poems to NCR POETRY, 115 E. Armour Blvd., Kansas City MO 64111-1203. Or via e-mail to poetry@natcath.org or fax (816) 968-2280. Please include your street address, city, state, zip and daytime telephone number. NCR offers a small payment for poems we publish, so please include your Social Security number.

National Catholic Reporter, December 24, 1999