Saturday, December 24, 2005

The Hands That First Held Mary's Child

This is a beautiful, Phillipino (if my sources serve me well) poem dwelling on St. Joseph at Christmas time. He's so often overlooked! So here is a poem (also a song) which considers St. Joseph...

The hands that first held Mary's child
Were hard from working wood
From boards they sawed and nailed and filed
And splinters they withstood

This day they gripped no tool of steel
They drove no iron nail
But cradled from the head to heel
Our Lord, newborn and frail

When Joseph marvelled at the size
Of that small breathing frame
And gazed upon those bright new eyes
And spoke the infant's name

The angel's voice he once had dreamed
Poured out from heaven's height
And like the host of stars that gleamed
Blessed earth with welcome light

This Child will be Emmanuel
Not God upon a throne
But God-with-us, Emmanuel
As close as blood and bone

The tools which Joseph laid aside
A mob would later lift
And use with anger, fear and pride
To crucify God's gift

Let us, O Lord, not only hold
The Child who's born today
But charged with faith, may we behold
To follow in His way

The tiny form in Joseph's palms
Confirmed what he had heard
And from his heart rose hymns and psalms
For heaven's human Word.

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