Christ Climbed Down

How Christ Comes

Make no mistake…UnknownI love just about everything about Christmas. I love the Advent scripture readings, the carols, the stories, the decorations and the absurd but utterly irrpressible joy that seeps into our highly commercialized and often conflicted culture.
I love hanging ornaments on the tree and remembering where we found them or the people who gave them to us. I cherish the memory of the year Martha and I saw the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular.  I love the way folks who never darken the church door the rest of the year, show up to light the candles and sing the carols on Christmas Eve.

And yet…

Every now and then, the odd way that Christ actually came among us breaks through.  It happened again this year when I remembered a bizarre poem by Lawrence Ferlinghetti.  I offer it as a reminder of the peculiar way in which God’s Son became flesh among us.

Christ Climbed Down 

Christ climbed down
from His bare Tree
this year
and ran away to where
there were no rootless Christmas trees
hung with candycanes and breakable stars

Christ climbed down
from His bare Tree
this year
and ran away to where
there were no gilded Christmas trees
and no tinsel Christmas trees
and no tinfoil Christmas trees
and no pink plastic Christmas trees
and no gold Christmas trees
and no black Christmas trees
and no powderblue Christmas trees
hung with electric candles
and encircled by tin electric trains
and clever cornball relatives

Christ climbed down
from His bare Tree
this year
and ran away to where
no intrepid Bible salesmen
covered the territory
in two-tone cadillacs
and where no Sears Roebuck creches
complete with plastic babe in manger
arrived by parcel post
the babe by special delivery
and where no televised Wise Men
praised the Lord Calvert Whiskey

Christ climbed down
from His bare Tree
this year
and ran away to where
no fat handshaking stranger
in a red flannel suit
and a fake white beard
went around passing himself off
as some sort of North Pole saint
crossing the desert to Bethlehem
Pennsylvania
in a Volkswagen sled
drawn by rollicking Adirondack reindeer
and German names
and bearing sacks of Humble Gifts
from Saks Fifth Avenue
for everybody’s imagined Christ child

Christ climbed down
from His bare Tree
this year
and ran away to where
no Bing Crosby carollers
groaned of a tight Christmas
and where no Radio City angels
iceskated wingless
thru a winter wonderland
into a jinglebell heaven
daily at 8:30
with Midnight Mass matinees

Christ climbed down
from His bare Tree
this year
and softly stole away into
some anonymous Mary’s womb again
where in the darkest night
of everybody’s anonymous soul
He awaits again
an unimaginable
and impossibly
Immaculate Reconception
the very craziest of
Second Comings

May Christ climb down into our hearts and souls this Christmas!

Grace and peace,

Jim

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5 thoughts on “Christ Climbed Down

  1. Strange I suppose but this is one of my all time favorite Christmas poems. In the midst of all the frenzied chaos of our Christmas celebration, “Christ Climbed Down” has always spoken to me most clearly about the true message of Christmas. Thanks for reminding all of us!

  2. As always you find something to melt my heart. Thank you so much!

  3. Jim,

    Will you send to asm317@aol.com starting this week.

    Thank you and loved your Christmas card.

    Patricia

    From: Jim Harnish
    Reply-To: Jim Harnish
    Date: Saturday, December 8, 2018 at 6:07 AM
    To: Patricia Magyar
    Subject: [New post] Christ Climbed Down

    jimharnish posted: “How Christ Comes Make no mistake…I love just about everything about Christmas. I love the Advent scripture readings, the carols, the stories, the decorations and the absurd but utterly irrpressible joy that seeps into our highly commercialized and ofte”

    1. Patricia: Thanks! Regarding changing the email address, I don’t think I can do that. I think you need to go into the “Follow” link and change your address. Have a wonderful Christmas!n
      Jim

  4. I’ve read this poem multiple times since you posted it in your blog. It goes deeper, and I respond with more emotion, every time I read it. Thanks again!

    Chris

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