A Christmas Crib at Aleppo – posting for #peace

A Christmas Crib at Aleppo

As we gather in our places of peace, we are mindful of the people of Ankara, of Berlin, of Aleppo. Peace, Shalom, Salaam.

A Christmas Crib at Aleppo

 

As Advent passed through Aleppo,

It was hard to see,

People living in any peace,

Or children roaming free.

The buses sent to save them,

Were lying as charred remains,

Who could come and deliver?

Them from many months of pains.

Buildings strewn as ruins,

Gardens left in a mess,

The poor and hungry dwell in squalor,

Awaiting a redress.

The children of Aleppo,

Have no toy shops to see,

They have no electronic gadgets,

For their internet’s not free.

And they have no fairy Christmas lights,

Shining on a Christmas tree.

Their families struggle for Church or Mosque,

To go and pray in peace,

From the constant sieging,

It appears there’s no release.

But what if something happened,

To enkindle a little hope?

Might it make a trifle of difference?

And help some families cope.

What if among the rubble,

Of their old, majestic city,

There might be respite from the trouble,

Some reverie a touch more pretty?

What if a Dad and Mother,

With their little family in tow,

Looked amidst the shattered buildings,

For a place to go?

What if there were a spot,

Away from lines of fire,

Where the family could be

In a place of restful retire?

What if in that place,

The mother then with child,

Could have her baby with her husband?

What if other children came and filed

In upon the scene

Of that modern nativity?

That among the broken buildings,

And the shattered lives,

There might be a little light,

To glow for husbands and wives.

And that the children dwelling near,

Who had no presents to receive,

Might behold a very precious gift,

And then may come to believe,

That among the cruel fighting,

And from their ruptured dreams,

The little, battered pieces,

Had edges made for seams,

To make a new mosaic,

And to build further dreams.

Visions within the struggle and the squalor,

That a child for us was born,

To keep holding life before us,

That on all true peace may dawn.

 

 

Simon C.J. Falk 19 December 2016

The Gnome from Santa’s Home

We now live in an era where there are a variety of worldviews.  For some this time of the year means happy holidays.  For others among us it is a time to celebrate Christmas. These next series of posts are about The  Gnome from Santa’s Home and other tales.  The Gnome has been busy this time of year working on stories on Christmas themes in both poetry and prose.  He also found ‘The Shepherd’s Daughter’ and ‘The Little Angel’.  Another one, ‘A Christmas Crib at Aleppo’, is coming soon.

The Gnome from Santa’s Home

 

The Gnome from Santa’s Home,

Sat across from his table,

He responded to all tasks,

As soon as he was able.

He answered many letters,

He fielded lots of calls.

He helped dear old Santa,

When he had his falls.

Gnome was a jolly butler,

For Santa to have around,

Supplementing the work of the elves,

And cherishing their merry sound.

One job he did enjoy,

Was to call us back,

Beyond the commercial ploy,

To the original Christmas tack.

Always looking for a story,

To delight the young and old,

Of the King of Glory,

The greatest story ever told.

He knew of The Shepherd’s Daughter,

And the Little Angel’s speech,

He’d patted The Kelpie Dog at Christmas,

And the Golden Grain was within reach.

He was onto a new story,

In our world’s trouble spot,

A Christmas Crib at Aleppo,

Better than a violent plot.

He will never cease his searching,

To catch the Christmas story,

For his job is to share the message of Christmas,

With people like you and me.

 

 

Simon C.J. Falk 19 December 2016

The Little Angel

We now live in an era where there are a variety of worldviews.  For some this time of the year means happy holidays.  For others among us it is a time to celebrate Christmas. These next series of posts are about The Gnome from Santa’s Home and other tales.  The Gnome has been busy this time of year working on stories on Christmas themes in both poetry and prose.  He also found ‘The Shepherd’s Daughter’ and ‘The Little Angel’.  Another one, ‘A Christmas Crib at Aleppo’, is coming soon.

 

The Little Angel – a back story inspired by the Gospels

 

As shepherds left the angels,

The night that Christ was born,

One shepherd, after a time,

Become quite forlorn.

As he looked upon his flock,

A lamb was gone from view.

He looked across the field,

He looked behind the rock,

He followed a little rivulet,

He looked and did not stop.

At last, he heard a bleating,

Which had his heart quickly beating,

And he followed the sound,

Down and down,

Into a ravine.

When he came upon the spot,

There unfolded a scene.

A dainty little angel,

In bright and glowing sheen,

Was the most wondrous thing,

This shepherd had ever seen.

And as he gazed upon the sight,

He beheld something below,

For there it was, the little, lost lamb,

Under the angel’s toe!

 

“Dear shepherd,” spoke the angel,

“Tonight you saw a sight,

Emmanuel, the Son of David,

Was born to put all right.

He will give hope to the afflicted,

He will welcome each lost sheep.

He is the comfort of the addicted,

The embrace of those who weep.

Although a little baby now,

His day will come to shine,

With the Holy Spirit,

And his reign will be divine.

Go and tell your family,

Before the break of dawn,

For this child’s the hope of hope,

The saviour has been born!”

 

The shepherd thanked the angel,

And gathered the lamb in his hands,

While choruses of angels

Resounded across the lands.

He saddled up his donkey,

He took home his sheep.

He went to his family,

And woke his daughter from her sleep.

Now, the shepherd’s daughter,

Is another tale,

To inspire families,

That peace may prevail.

 

 

 

Simon C.J. Falk 19 December 2016

The Shepherd’s Daughter

We now live in an era where there are a variety of worldviews.  For some this time of the year means happy holidays.  For others among us it is a time to celebrate Christmas. These next series of posts are about The  Gnome from Santa’s Home and other tales.  The Gnome has been busy this time of year working on stories on Christmas themes in both poetry and prose.  He also found ‘The Shepherd’s Daughter’ and ‘The Little Angel’.  Another one, ‘A Christmas Crib at Aleppo’, is coming soon.

 

The Shepherd’s Daughter: A back story on Luke’s Gospel

Written for an address at a Christmas Carol evening

 

A mother told her son a story

 

A shepherd returned home from the fields and looked through the curtains:

 

“Zipporah,” he said gently. “Zipporah, my darling, wake up.”

 

The daughter rubbed her eyes and gave a big, slow yawn.

Then, she took her father’s hand and went with him.

He clasped his hands around her waist and firmly, but deftly,

Picked her up and placed her carefully on the back of his donkey.

Soon they met some more shepherds with children and were off.

 

After a time they heard a sound. Soft, at first, as it came across the still night air.

It was like voices. Were they singing?

Gradually, as they neared, the voices were louder, and yes, they were singing a beautiful, joyous chorus of song.

 

As Zipporah and her companions crested a hill they saw it.

There was a cave, glowing with light. The song seemed to be within it, outside of it, all around it.

A happy song it was: “Joy to the world, and peace to all in heaven and earth!”

 

Soon they were so close, to the entrance of the cave.

Again, the shepherd placed his firm hands around his daughter and hoisted her off the mount. The donkey did not even flinch.

Taking her hand, the shepherd led Zipporah through the entrance of the cave.

On some straw, where animals would lay, was a mother. She was half sitting, half crouching. She held a baby and looked, gazed, oh so lovingly, into the baby’s eyes.

The woman’s husband, who crouched near her, looked up.

 

“Come, shepherd’s daughter,” he said.

 

So, she walked over and crouched down.

 

“What is your name, dear one,” said the mother.

 

In a voice nearly trembling, she replied, “Zipporah, mam.”

 

“What a lovely name. Well, Zipporah, meet Jesus. Here, hold him close to your heart.”

 

Zipporah held him, and she was filled with warmth, with joy and love. She felt so special inside and like, like she could tell the whole world.

 

After a time, they thanked the family and headed home.

 

“And that is what parents do, little Reuben,” said the mother to her son.

“They ask their children to hold Jesus close to their heart. Now, Reuben, off to sleep!”

 

As Reuben went to sleep, his mother returned to the scene of the shepherd’s daughter holding Jesus. It was many years since she had made that journey as the shepherd’s daughter. But Zipporah still remembered and still felt the warmth in her heart.

 

And as we hear the story,

We too check our heart,

Can we feel the burning?

Does it make us start?

Start with some enthusiasm,

To spread a little cheer,

A wholesome way to end one

And begin another year.

 

Simon C.J. Falk Commenced 11 December 2016 and completed 19 December 2016

The Kelpie Dog at Christmas

The Kelpie Dog at Christmas

 They gathered around the Christmas scene,

All those years ago;

In the cold air of Bethlehem,

In a rocky cave hollow.

 

Mary, Joseph and Jesus,

Gathered on some hay;

Amongst the rocks and animals,

On that first Christmas day.

 

Angels called to shepherds,

Who came in from fields to adore;

On entering the cave they crouched down,

Amongst the animals and straw.

 

Outside the cave in the weather,

Some sheep twitched in cold, damp fog;

But before they could get away,

Along came a kelpie dog!

 

His black coat glistened with droplets,

His ears pointed to the stars;

His eyes took stock of that restless flock,

He’d put an end to their baas!

 

He circled round the flock,

He mobbed them right in tight;

They were bunched up together,

On that first Christmas night.

 

And while the shepherds paid respect

To Jesus on the hay;

That kelpie dog served vigil,

And kept the sheep at bay.

 

That night was long and dreary,

The cold got in to their bones;

And while those inside were snug,

Sheep and dog stood on chilly stones.

 

When the night was waning,

And the sun appeared in the sky;

The shepherds emerged from the cavern,

And what did they spy?

 

A tight little mob of warm sheep,

Looking on with hungry eyes;

And a kelpie dog with a glistening coat,

Under early morning skies.

 

The shepherds looked in wonder,

And one let out a cheer:

“Bravo, our kelpie dog!

You’ve saved the day out here!”

 

The dog looked up in approval,

Giving a slobbery grin;

Then trotted off past them,

And to the cave went in.

 

He sauntered up to the manger,

Right up close he did;

“Oh no!” Cried out a shepherd,

“He’ll dribble on the kid!”

 

But the dog looked on in reverence,

He slowly bowed his head;

Then nestled down beside the Christ child,

And went to sleep instead.

 

Now some may say this is legend,

And wasn’t part of the night;

But legends survive in generations,

As well as books written right.

 

When you remember Christmas,

As an adult or as a kid;

Rest in the presence of Jesus,

Like the kelpie did.

 

This poem was written for an outdoor Christmas Catholic Mass at Temora NSW.  It was an attempt at using a story in the hope it may help children enter into Christmas.

 

 

Simon C.J. Falk           17 December 2013.

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