Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christ in Christmas

"Dear Santa Claus:
This year I'd like the best
to see my fellow man
give his fists and guns
and tongue a rest."
Rod McKuen

Old Favorite New Yorker Cartoon

I've seen so many Merry Xmas signs
with Christ squeezed out by laziness*
or the printer's economic need.
The outrage that it once produced
has almost found its way into the attic
with nineteen-sixty's broken toys.

(Had I not the faces of small children
to mirror Christ for me all year long
I might believe God dead, or sleeping anyway.
Though I doubt there lives a Lucifer
who could make September leaves to fall
or set the tails of dogs to wagging.)

God is living in the mountains,
a recluse from some people's hearts.
I bet he'd drop by smiling in the chilly night
and celebrate his first son's birthday
if we cared enough to keep the porch light on.

by Rod McKuen (b 1933)
from The Carols of Christmas, 1971
first published in Woman's Day Magazine, 1969

I still have the original article of McKuen's "Seven Psalms for Christmas," cut from my mother's copy of this magazine and glued onto the opening pages of my earliest Christmas scrapbook. I started at age 12, and have been at it ever since!

The Divine Sextuplets of Menard's
Photographed by Gerry McCartney,
way back in early October when the retail Christmas displays
began appearing for the season at all of our favorite stores

*In closing, I must add one brief disclaimer that although this McKuen poem has been one of my favorites for over forty years, I have never been too bothered by Xmas as an abbreviation for Christmas. My dear sainted grandmother (Rovilla Heidemann Lindsey) -- never one to be irreverent, and certainly never lazy -- occasionally substituted the "X" as symbolic of Christ. If it once received her blessing, then I shall never find fault with it.

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