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Christmas Eve

The Day before Tomorrow

(x = space)



The Day before Tomorrow


Last day in Advent

Made it


Rain, snow

Overwhelming cold

We should be postal carriers

To endure

It all

Strange meeting place

This junction of

The Northeast, MidAtlantic

The weather comes

From north or south

Or east or west

I’m trying

To get used to that

It’s only taken

Twenty years so far

There are forecasts

But better to wait

To know what happens

Though encounter


How to plan a picnic

Must be an undertaking,


Requiring options

(bring the ants)

Sometimes the living

Is absurd

If not cartoonish

But these are the days we have

And the environs

Those who stayed

Or passed back through


To stay


And all the world has

Its places

Its challenges

Its practices


And now (among

the practices)

It’s Christmas Eve

And there are days in Hanukkah

This year correlating


To light our way

The world could breathe easier

Except in Ukraine

In Myanmar and Yemen,

Oppressive parts of China

And of Russia

And in the manipulative

Shadowed corners

Of the USA

All the places where we watch

For detonation

Also the human heart

The battlefield it remains


Sin and virtue

Pounding and pushing

Pulling circulation


(Sturm and Drang),

The devils on the inside

On the outside

Rendering Christmastide

So perilous


And yet we sing into

A night

We wish were silent

Save for children’s cries

For all the reasons

Children cry

Among them to receive

First oxygen and hope

Into the world


Render the night

Impossible in virtue

We’ll sing it,


We’ll kneel

We’ll try to light our way

We’ll quietly acknowledge


Some will party

And some will do nothing,

I suppose

Though the world is affected

By what we do this night

And for a thousand years

And in the time

Remember birth and


And everything

That circulates a world

Keeps it moving

In the spirit

In the flesh


Though maybe for an hour

Let all mortal flesh

Keep silent

And in fear and trembling


To receive

To hope for blessing

In the night


Let fighter planes

Fly so carefully

Perforce keep watch

Like shepherds

Over continents

And there might be songs

At crowded borders

And the lines

Kept distant

From welcome

Because mines have barred the way


Peace on Earth

The ersatz wish

Some must believe

(yet some must believe),

Withholding war

The practice

That must be enough

For now


Into the world

The child comes

The children come

And everyone

And everything

Now have responsibilities

To keep it together,

To throw

And try to seal patches

The worn places

And to keep watch

For the tearing places

On the outside of Earth

And, you know,

On the inside


And hell

The human heart


Anxieties may end

Because it’s here

Our plans are done

And in place as they are

Out of necessity

Of time

As chronos

So might we have


For a day

Twelve years

Perhaps a brief era

If only hours


A spiritual time

A cultural invention

Arms reach out for a change

Hand in hand

In brave hope

To sing a silent night

To sing in glory

Once the vigil is completed

And there is indeed

There really is

A dawn of hope


Glory and hope


Because a child is born

That for a time

Affects the government

In minds

As well as capitals

Until when all time is done

And in a kairos of eternity

It’s Christmas day

And all the other graceful days



C L Couch



Photo by Monisha Selvakumar on Unsplash


Eve X

(x = space)



Eve X


I cannot help

But love the evening

Maybe you feel the same

And in the quiet night

A miracle

And it can’t have been quiet

With the mother

And the father

And the animals

And the outside

Night noises

And yet the heart is quiet



There is the birth

To contemplate

In the dark

And after


An extraordinary light

That might be candlelight

Or dawn

Or an inside



And it could happen

In an hour of

Any Christmas Eve

With apologies to mothers

And to fathers

And to animals

The wilderness


But we might need

Silent consideration

Of it all

And then to have a new day

In more silence

Or the noise

Of a wonderful

However illuminated




And light


And lights

We might need both

To understand

How a birth leads

To eternal life

Because it may

It does


C L Couch



Photo by Remy Gieling on Unsplash

Believer holding candle at evening church ceremony in Paris.


We Didn’t Know Who You Was

(x = space)



We Didn’t Know Who You Was

(Christmas Eve)


Let’s not slice it to death

This time

Let’s simply have observances

Let all the contradictions go

We know there’s folklore involved,

Which should fascinate


There was such darkness

At hand

Of one kind or another

Of the past, of

The present

Lack of awareness

Of the import of events;

Only to the players

Did things matter,

They in acts

No one to put it all together until Luke

And a little bit in Matthew and in John


Prophets old and new

We have to say

Knew and know some measure

Of the meaning

Of it all

They are extracted

And we read them, too


Such dulled and slow senses

Sometimes history goes that way

Sometimes it’s spiritual

The people walked in darkness

There might be other forces, too,

To keep us from the light


But it is there

The birth is there

Incarnation as a doctrine

Thought some of it at least

Might have been as any birth

A baby in the world

This one in a cave

And that’s unusual

And all around

The mystery

The strangeness

There was adventure in the sky

And from some people

Who in an iron empire

Chose to dedicate another lord,

Another life to follow


The child is God

But who knew that?

Mary and Joseph


And the magi knew something

While the shepherds were told something

As good news

This is the messiah!

Who really understood?

How could a baby save the world

Who is not Caesar

With family, tutors, strategists

Sheltered behind stone walls,

Armies out front

That keep the world

For them?


Well, other parts conspired

Into a birth, a life

That through faith

And later patchwork

Yielded doctrine

And a way

The people of the way


As on that night

(let’s call it a night)

There would be amazement

There would be awful things as well

But wonder now

And wonder later on

And with us, still


Praise God, for God is good

God is love

God is a spirit

Who wonders now

And offers light inside the darkness,

The kind of darkness that is not

Romantic but it

Stultifies and kills


Believe the child

Humbly, take the child in

To dwell with you

Maybe like a foundling, at the start,

Then as a teacher

And a savior

And a temple of salvation

In the city of God

(new heaven)

And on God’s free land

(new Earth)



Sweet, little Jesus child,

They made you be born in a manger;

Sweet, little holy child,

We didn’t know who you was.


Didn’t know you’d come to save us, Lord,

To take our sins away:

Our eyes was blind, we could not see;

We didn’t know who you was.


We didn’t know who you was

Maybe we should have

Maybe we can, now,

And into new ages

Love revealed

Prophecy fulfilled

The child grows up

We grow up


And for this night we way

Welcome to the world, child,

And everything that starts



C L Couch



could be a choral or a choir reading


“Sweet, Little Jesus Child” is a song of African American origin.  The precise source is unknown, and there are variants and variations.


This is the third in a creative, liturgical series for Advent and Christmas.  The other two parts are the last two days’ posts.  I think I’ll work on something else now.


Photo by Agung Raharja on Unsplash


In Darkness

I’ve been having trouble with WordPress.  I can’t leave comments on your pages.  I get an “error” block that tells me to go back and when I do I still get the “error” block.  I don’t know if anyone has experienced this.  Maybe the problem is with my computer.  Frustrating!

This won’t fix the problem and doesn’t really address it; but if want to get in touch with me (especially while I’m not able to reach you via the blog), you may use my e-mail address,




(x = space)



In Darkness


A child is born

Into this?

How cruel

Such cruelty

If God should call this down

A child of God

(a child?)

Then why not to cushions

In a palace

For a start?

Why not with special parents

In a prominent family?

Why not with

Advisors and with teachers

Frankly, generals




Why not with a well-known name

Conveying might

Mixed with celebrity?



There are two such places

You are inviting debate

And neither is a capital

An important place

For births

Unless by the mother stopped

By happenstance

On the way to Jerusalem

Or Rome

Somewhere we can argue is

The center of the world

Where we can triumph

(two drum beats)

Where are the triumphs?


Where are the angels


Well, there are

The angels

We are frightened

They say

Don’t be afraid

(we are afraid)


Good news?

To our cynic selves we know

There is never good news


And who are the shepherds?

Smelly men

Who should be outside town

Yet they pass us by

With purpose




Bethlehem, again

And we people of the world

Maybe we should follow


Or, you know,

We could wait for the news

When it’s official

The sky is dark again

With normal night

We have two years

And more,

Should something else


(two drum beats, bells)


C L Couch



A companion piece to yesterday’s.  Another one tomorrow—there you will have a trilogy of liturgy for Advent and Christmas Eve.  Or for some other reason.  Or for none.  Note this verse has sound effects.  They can be left out, I’m sure.



Photo by Lasse Møller on Unsplash


The Drive to Church on Christmas Eve

(x = space)



The Drive to Church on Christmas Eve


What shall we say

On this night

There might be stars

There might be clouds

There might be snow

(depending upon


elevation, and

the axis tilt)

I know there were

Christmas Eves

When it rained

They come to mind

Evoked by


Bright lights in dots

Upon the windshield

I am on the way

To church,

A child myself

On the way

To meet another


C L Couch



Photo by Zach Lucero on Unsplash


A Night to Remember

(x = space)



A Night to Remember

(Christmas Eve)


So there’s this sleigh

A regrettable homonym;

It might be as big as a spaceship

In a science-fiction series,

One that might carry generations

To the next set

Of sun and planets


The sleigh could have a crew,


We know of only one,

The captain and the power

That comes from reindeer


There are deliveries to make,

Though what might be most important

Is the trip around the world

In certitude

We have a world to play with

And work on

For keeping homes

With some promise of a future

Under brick and wood and canvas,

Stone and shale


Will it be a merry Christmas

For those who don’t believe?

Well, why not


No punishment is promised inside


One might simply enjoy

The colors, the materials, the brilliant

Detritus, after

All the domestic parties

‘Round a tree or in another

Fine arrangement

Or in a place that looks the same

As it did the day before—

Thank goodness, there are no requirements


It’s a day,

A unique day we’ve held

In the offing

In anticipation

For a while


C L Couch



A Night to Remember is the name of an old, bittersweet movie.


By Sierra Nevada Space Systems – Sierra Nevada Space Systems, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Artist’s conception of the Dream Chaser commercial human space transportation vehicle docked to the International Space Station.


A New God

A New God


We hear

There is a new God in the world

And we’ve been told it’s jealous

Human words testify,

But there is supposed to be citation

This God promises to mete another kind of



The older things will happen, finally

Fire and damnation

Things you already know

But there is something first,

Something deserving awe for being new

To terrify the agenda-holders who believe

They have it all, and it is right to

Want the rest


Before their destruction, there is a surprise

Offered quietly, persistently, even with fragility

It is love

Obviating Armageddon

For a time


The merest wish for this

And it will offer to take charge

At least to guide

Sublimate all misdirected sense of

Dignity in righteousness

(though dignity itself is good)

To make, in fact, the person whole

Gently bring one to the altar

There to cry the truth

Then to reach for something better,

As it’s offered

All the time

Rather freely


The who have arrived in faith already

Know already about this

Try to live, fall, live again

An uneven, promising, frustrating

Celebratory kind of life

Whose delight in giving will give out

Just in time for paradise


C L Couch



Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash


Overlooking Darkness

Overlooking Darkness


There is a tradition

That was never mine

That everything be done on Christmas Eve

Tree, decorating (house and tree),

Dealing with presents,

Maybe making special food

All be done that night

Whew, how can that be

Without the help of elves who

Have switched folkloric chores from

Cobbling shoes?


I think maybe it was the way of immigrants

Brought over like so many things we do


In timelines we can’t count

With working families

Whose jobs were not done ‘til then,

Stores would have to have stayed open

Christmas tree lots

Maybe hot-chocolate vendors

With those bags of chestnuts

All to relieve all of the rest, once a year

A whole day off

Maybe the day after



I do remember Jews and Muslims

Seventh-Day Adventists

Atheists, agnostics

Filling in for services

Firetrucks, utilities, hospital needs

So Christians had time off

I remember, looking another way

For wanting all this time

The special lights

To stay

Inside a mind of memory

A human heart of longing


Too sweet to go for, now? in the world

We have,

We might add a little

It could be a gift


C L Couch



Image by Kohji Asakawa from Pixabay


to readers, then a poem

I hope it is a holiday of blessings for you, regardless of tradition or having no tradition.  It’s a time when at least we speak to peace on Earth, which means more people think about it, if only in reaction.  And reactive thought can realized in action.

I’m still dealing with new pain, and I hardly sleep at night (from old pain and the new).  I’m sorry, this makes me less communicative than I’d so much like to be.  I’m trying some new medication.  Maybe that will provide enough amelioration.

I wish and pray for you a Merry Christmas, leading to the start of what will be a Happy New Year.



Let Earth

(end of Advent, Christmas Eve or Christmas day, or, you know, anytime)


And where is joy?

It’s here


Depending on your mood

Or how you’re treated

How you treat someone else

You may not see it

The wrong ones will not pay attention

The ones who are wronged will

Because they must

It often goes this way

With wisdom to

Make a choice,

A pledge to difference


If you can,

In all moods choose joy

If you can’t, maybe joy will find you

If not, we’ll have to wait


‘Til there is allowance

And recourse


Sorry if that’s hollow

Everything cannot be fixed

In a day

A year

And not a moment

But where is joy?

It’s here

If within opacity like crystals in

The tube of a kaleidoscope

But made of a magic kind of gem that

Someday must crash through


Into release

A new promise of day

Without involvement of the persecutor

With unbound chances

To live openly and well


A day of birth

Such as this one


C L Couch


Larisa-K / 471 images


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