The Oddity of Christmas

This cloud, called the Fairy Pillar, is so huge that light takes 10 years to travel from one end to the other. Light from the nearest star, Proxima Centauri, to our Sun takes about 4.22 years to reach earth. Photo taken in 2005 by the Hubble Space Telescope (NASA, ESA).

It’s so strange; and yet it goes on and on for millennia, this re-telling of so many seeming aberrations in reality, this whole advent of Christ. Fable, myth, imaginary, whatever, it represents something that no explanation completely accounts for.

As an artist, I know that my imagination stems from something real that usually cannot be fully explained by my story, design, film, drawing, poem.  I am responding to an impulse and I make my art in faith that something true is coming through me however crudely expressed. Words, paint, body movement can only go so far and at the conclusion of the piece there is still mystery unexpressed.

Many have concluded to their satisfaction that the story of Christ has been demythologized into concrete explanations, again words. Yet every Christmas the recitation still gives pause; every Easter it still makes more and more wonder.

And it is so odd, what is recited; so off the normal, accepted narrative of daily assumptions as to make the very repetition a remarkable phenomenon.

One oddity that probably most people, including many Christians, do not think about is that Advent season culminating in Christmas celebrates not only the coming of Christ in the first century, but looks forward to Christ coming again. I think most just refuse to go there — that’s just too bizarre.

So, I’ve written an artistic exploration of this; just 13 stanzas; just words sprouting from this root that will not go away.

The first time you came
To the dark, warm and closely held,
Jostled in the gurgling,
Muffled voices around you;

Content to stay until
The squeezing was too tight
And noise came too close
To ignore or let it pass;

Time to get up and move on,
Come out to the cold
Dirt and straw and piercing
Smell of creatures;


Knowing the skin of God
Feeding you, holding you
Differently, openly,
And holding on to her;

Making sounds to the new
Which responded alike
Flying you through space
Past unaccounted objects;

In due course you walked
Through the incredulous world
Demonstrating, sounding out
What we needed to witness;

Being everything we fear
To get up and move on toward,
And we who would build houses
Fell under your cloud;

So, you said to stand up
With you down the mountain,
Came forth from the ground,
Ascended into the clouds;

And, reciting ever since,
We have watched, as you said to,
For the cloud of clouds
Again to envelop us,

Watched for that Day
When everyone on every side
Of this incomprehensible globe
Will see you at once

Because you grew into the universe
Body of vast multiplicity,
Every particle consciously
Communing with you;

So many little ones full of infinity
Bonding together in differing flow
From afar like a nebula
Advancing on us,

Resolving to faces
Of family rolling and dancing
Beyond all known boundaries,
Unknown anew.

Mark R.Turner
Dec. 10-12,2018
Julian, CA
Luke 21:25-28, Daniel 7:13, Hebrews 12:1, Matthew17:1-9, Isaiah 40:5

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