The ax at the root

        Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees;
         every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit
         is cut down and thrown into the fire.

                  â€”Matthew 3.10

Oh, John, you maniac,
making Christmas such a brutal thing,
chopping at our Christmas trees,
these sedative, tinseled trees of appetite
whose decorations shield our self-absorption,
so good for hanging, but not for fruit
that might awaken us,
open our eyes to the threat we pose
to black bodies or hungry mouths or foreign faces,
that might loosen our idolatry of power,
that might change us, year to identical year.

What will you come after next?
The Promised One, this powerless child,
with all that winnowing, that unquenchable fire,
what ruin will he bring? Declare the Jubilee?
Tear down the walls and bars, set the captive free?
What will that cost us?

Lord, deliver me. Overnight, free shipping.
Deliver to my doorstep parties and parcels
and carols of merriment but not the pause to look,
not self-awareness, not change, not repentance.
Never mind the child in the night, never mind
the cries beneath the carols, never mind
the ax lying at the root of the trees.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

December 6, 2019

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