Chris Swann: Christmas Means Carnage

Christmas Means Carnage
Chris Swann

“Christmas means carnage! Christmas means carnage!”
Not just in the stadium or sleepy
Lounge-room strewn with endless replays of ham.
But, as the prophetic duck knew too well,
In the charnel house of our history:
From that first time in wintry Judea
(Itself recapping a more ancient purge)
To every pogrom, ‘work camp’ and coup since.

At Christmas he took on all this carnage—
The whole stained, haunted gibbet stinking of
Fear, displacement and meat … this carne—
when pleased with man to dwell: the Incarnate.
So if the world is charged with God’s grandeur,
It’s not shimmering, a diffuse presence.
No. It’s here. Located. But out of place.
A refugee. Sweating. Crying. Afraid.

Unwrapping the slaughter of innocents:
Naked, bloody, exposed—from first to last.
Led from woodworker’s house to curs-ed tree,
With circling vultures his only halo.
Some struggle to see it beneath festive
Cheer and indolence. And yet here’s good news…
Rejoice! A light is shining in the dark:
A God in a crib, a cross-shadowed King.

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