A Lesson & A Carol

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Merry Christmas from the Rabbit Room! Can you believe we’ve made it this far?

This Christmas is a complicated one, of course. We certainly wish you joy and merriment, and yet there are countless good reasons why you may not feel altogether cheerful. So on this Christmas Day, we’d like to offer you a lesson and a carol, so to speak—meaning, a poem by Andrew Roycroft and a song by Jess Ray, each of which speak specifically to where we find ourselves this Christmas.

First is “Bethlehem, Year Zero” by Andrew Roycroft. This video was shot by New Irish Arts on the shores of Strangford Lough. The text of the poem is provided below the video.

This year none of the pieces are in place,
no finishing touch,
just the rush,
headlong,
to make the best of things—
more make-do, than make-believe,
a clambering to retrieve
family under one roof,
to pluck some safety from the dragon’s teeth,
to make a place for joy again,
long looked for after labour pains,
the grace to hold our griefs
in one hand,
and with the other, just hold on.

This year has no precedent,
just more numbers from the government,
just more bitterness of argument,
sick hearts retching on hope deferred,
reading tight between the lines
for a Word
that might flare across the firmament
and speak deliverance.

But this year, we have made the best of things,
found shelter here against the odds,
adapted what has come to hand,
rested in the grander plan
that underwrites this circumstance,
sees grace instead of blinded chance,
and lays in this manger ark
the Best beside the worst,
the Light amidst the dark,
the King among the filth.
And Mary cradles at her breast
the head of one who from obscurity
will carry heaven’s destiny
through thorn to crown,
dandles with her hand the heel
that, promised from eternity,
will crush King Death into the ground.

This year, we have no normal,
new or old,
but a different day,
a dawn,
a moment long foretold,
now here,
this year.

—”Bethlehem, Year Zero” by Andrew Roycroft

Accompanying this lesson is a carol recently released by Jess Ray called “Gloria, Gloria” which holds the tension of this peculiar Christmas Day with beauty and generosity of spirit.

And that’s all from the Rabbit Room this year. We’ll see you in 2021.


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