First Christmas 🎄

by J. S. Absher

When time reached the meridian, 
   the moon at the full 
   whitened the barley fields. 

It was spring, the lambing season; 
   the olive was in flower,
   and sweet bay scented the air. 

When the glory of the Lord shown bright
   and from the skies came down
   to circle the shepherds round.

The humble men trembled in fright.
   Fear not, the angels said.
   Hope for the quick and the dead 

of all people, Jew and Gentile, 
   is born in David’s city. 
   Father in his pity 

has sent the world a perfect child, 
  a Savior, Christ the Lord 
  with healing in his Word. 

The shepherds went, smelling of sheep 
   and leeks and wild rockrose, 
   their faces all aglow 

with joy. They woke the babe from sleep. 
   He lay in a manger 
   protected from all danger.

Why did the Holy Baby smile?
   They gave a little lamb
   to the great I Am.

J. S. Absher is a poet and independent scholar. His first full-length book of poetry, Mouth Work (St. Andrews University Press) won the 2015 Lena Shull Competition of the North Carolina Poetry Society. His second full-length collection, Skating Rough Ground, is scheduled to appear next year. Chapbooks are Night Weather (Cynosura, 2010) and The Burial of Anyce Shepherd (Main Street Rag, 2006). Absher is also preparing three books focusing on North Carolina and Southern US history, two of which (Love Letters of a Mississippi Lawyer and My Own Life, or A Deserted Wife) were published this year. He lives in Raleigh, NC, with his wife, Patti. Website: www.js-absher-poetry.com 

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