Welcome to the Monday Mailing Vol 2, Ed 1 –
Boxed – by Ann Weems
I must admit to a certain guilt about stuffing the Holy Family into a box in the aftermath of Christmas.
It’s frankly a time of personal triumph when, each Advent’s eve, I free them (and the others) from a year’s imprisonment
boxed in the dark of our basement.
Out they come, one by one, struggling through the straw,
last year’s tinsel still clinging to their robes.
Nevertheless, they appear, ready to take their place again
in the light of another Christmas.
The Child is first because he’s the one I’m most reluctant to box. Attached forever to his cradle, he emerges, apparently unscathed from the time spent upside down to avoid the crush of the lid.
His mother, dressed eternally in blue, still gazes adoringly,
in spite of the fact that
her features are somewhat smudged.
Joseph has stood for eleven months, holding valiantly what’s left of his staff, broken twenty Christmases ago
by a child who hugged a little too tightly.
The Wise Ones still travel, though not quite so elegantly,
the standing camel having lost its back leg and the sitting camel having lost one ear.
However, gifts intact they are ready to move.
The shepherds, walking or kneeling, sometimes confused with Joseph
(who wears the same dull brown), tumble forth, followed by three sheep in very bad repair.
There they are again, not a grand set surely,
but one the children (and now the grandchildren)
can touch and move about to
reenact that silent night.
When the others return, we will wind the music box on the back of the stable
and light the Advent candles
and go once more the Bethlehem.
And this year, when it’s time to pack the figures away,
we’ll be more careful that the Peace and
Goodwill are not also boxed for another year!
Peace. . .and Goodwill!