Poem: Perspectives

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I wrote this poem about "the first Christmas" two days before Christmas 1984, one year after I graduated from college. I was still unemployed as I had been for nine of the previous 12 months. It was also written just a few months before my first trip to China (though, of course, I had no idea at the time that I would one day find a rewarding career teaching English in China!). 

I found it in my files the other day, and I am posting this poem now (Christmastime 2008) because many of our friends and former students around the world are being affected by the world financial crisis. Many people have lost their jobs, or are facing the fear of losing a job or income. Our daughter's income has dropped, and my son's tuition is rising while my income isn't, so we also face an uncertain economic situation. Maybe this poem will help us keep things in perspective.


Christmas Perspectives


Like much of life

   the first Christmas was not a very joyous occasion--

      except from Heaven's perspective.

To human, finite minds it was a time of pain

   tedious travel

      crude accommodations


            even death.

But to those (like Simeon and the angels)

   whose eyes were open

      to a different perspective,

         it was a time of wonder




                         fulfilled hopes

                         and great joy.

Yet isn't that just like God?

To turn despised shepherds into Divine messengers

     labor pain into a source of healing

         a "silent night" into an insuppressible song;

             to bring peace from uncertainty

         an open invitation from a closed inn

     and unsearchable love from unfounded fear.

From the very beginning

      Jesus was

            teaching us

            leading us

            turning our world upside down

            intervening at our level

                  to give us a place at His

                        for ever more.


Michael Krigline, December 23, 1984  www.krigline.com



(For more information about Christmas, see these Christmas pages on our website: the traditional Christmas story, who is Santa (圣诞老人)?, candy canes, Christmas Perspectives (poem), and the pre-Christmas Advent season. Also look for Christmas wallpaper here. You'll also find movie study guides on this website for some great holiday films: A Snoopy/Charlie Brown Christmas, Last Holiday, White Christmas, The Grinch, Christmas Carol, It's a Wonderful Life)


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