“Humility” — A Poem for Christmas

The One who made and makes all things
Is, at the end of ages, made
In lowly human likeness, flesh;
He in whom “all things hold together,”
“Sustaining all things by his word,”
Now, humbly, is himself sustained
By virgin mother’s loving care.
He who, on Sinai, gave the Law
Descends from formless fire and smoke
To bear himself the yoke he made,
And, later, bear its breakers’ curse.

And oh! the wonder of it all:
All this was planned from the beginning;
Long before the world began,
Ere our first parents made their choice
To listen to the serpent, eat
And know, and forfeit Paradise,
He who is Wisdom made his choice
To live our life—to be this child—
To suffer poverty, and die.

O vast, unfathomable grace!
O mercy none can tell enough!
How much we owe this infant King!
A debt that none could ever pay,
That he has taken on himself!
So let us, then, live gratefully
The life that he would have us live—
Be imitators of our Head.

The beginning of this poem came to me earlier this week, when I was contemplating again the miracle of the Incarnation; after further reflection, I was able to shape my further thoughts into the rest of what you see above. I’d been planning on writing a poem sometime soon that experimented with iambic tetrameter, after it was pointed out to me how consistently I use pedestrian blank verse, and so while I wasn’t sure it would work, I tried the shorter meter here.

As always, I earnestly welcome your (further) comments, suggestions, questions, critique, or other feedback about this or any other part of my work. If you liked this, you can follow this blog, which includes one of my poems every Friday, or read other poems I’ve written here on my blog (perhaps starting with those linked from one of the “archive” installments, since the full archive is by now, at over two hundred poems, somewhat daunting). You may also share this poem with others, subject to my sharing policy.

This poem is also mirrored on my wiki.


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