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by Jeremy Vogan © 2022

The streets are quiet now. The lights are dim
Inside the houses that we passed to find
This stable at the back of Bethlehem.
My body is exhausted, but my mind
Runs back to what the man in white declared –
Yes; Gabriel – when instantly I knew
My girlhood gone, and wholly unprepared
To hear his words: A Life within me grew.
And here He is. Young Yahweh sleeping warm
Within the corner of my trembling arm.
"O favored one." What favor could I find
That God should overshadow, as He said?
My family small, no riches, unrefined.
My name: Naomi, in my family's thread
Said, "Call me Bitter." So indeed might I.
I felt the eyes when we came in this town;
They're all the same: The glance, the anguished cry
My heart makes with their knowing smiles, crushed down.
Is this the way our great Messiah shows
His true salvation for the ones He chose?
He stirs, and murmurs in His sleep. How swift
My heart arises with a mother's love!
I stroke His tiny head. So pure a gift,
For all my doubts, is given from above.
I hear a rustle from outside the door.
Good Joseph rises; strange dark faces beam
With costly presents on the dusty floor.
The room is burst with glory. And it seems
That in this humble place of bitter joy
I magnify the Lord in this small Boy.

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