We sang Christmas carols in the gym at the prison.
The visitors sang out on all the goldies—
all those old British tunes and their smooth rhymes,
all the gloooo—ho-ho-ho-ho-horias.
The inmates mumbled along.
Everybody sang to the backs of the chairs in front of them.
Then we got to Feliz Navidad.We didn’t know that one so well—
but the guys belted it out with gusto.
They sang it to each other.
This was their song.
Shepherds on the hillside,
suddenly given good news
in their own language.
This is the mystery of Christmas:
God has come to sing our song,
in our language,
not the refined arias of angelic choruses
but the gritty, plain language of life lived,
failed, loved anyway—and saved. Feliz Navidad.
December 19, 2019