THE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS
By John Thomas Tuft
The city is blanketed beneath the darkness of night
And the graveyard of the alleyways shelter those who don’t belong
While in the shadows, pilgrims shuffle toward a nativity
That inspires no singing, yet carries a sad, hopeful song.
Joe the crackhead leads them further up and further in
Maria is wrapped in an old tablecloth against the cold
Three wise guys in ghetto crowns mutter urgent warnings to keep moving
Two prostitutes keep watch, shepherding the earnings from what they sold.
Joe knocks at the door of a church basement community center
Seeking solace for these undesirables, resplendent in their sin
Maria groans in the birthing pangs of withdrawal
But they are turned away, being told there is no room within.
They continue on, guided by desperation toward a fading star
Maria ponders all this while stepping over her vomit in the gutter
They are the most unlikely of all carolers
Questioning the meaning of this Christmas that we utter.
In a world of silent nights, with groanings too deep to be heard
The coming of the faithful is quite the festival to behold
With trees and lights, saints, and children’s laughter
And the telling of a plastic story while we select who is included in the fold.