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Poetry Pleases: The Visitors

Brian Jenkinson writes a poem about the inn, and the birth of the Babe born to be King.

In the chill yard behind the inn
After the bustle and the din
Each traveller now sleeping lies,
His cloak pulled up about his eyes
Against the light of that new star,
The brightest in the sky by far,
Which some declare that God has sent,
The herald of a great event.

A man had come that evening late;
He looked in through the open gate
And there he stood in great despair
To see the crowd already there,
Folk who like him had left their home,
Obeying the decree of Rome
Which said that names should be put down,
Each in one’s own ancestral town.

He turned to his young wife outside
Who sadly now would have to ride
Her donkey on their weary way
Until they found some place to stay.
But the innkeeper saw their plight
And, filled with pity at the sight,
A further journey said he’d save
By offering his stable cave.
And now the sleepers, as they lie,
Are wakened by a baby’s cry,
Announcing that through human birth
God has come down to dwell on earth.

Yet those who hear are unaware
That the incarnate God is there
Until the sound of running feet
Comes through the gateway from the street,
And soon a joyful shepherd band
Inside the crowded inn yard stand.
They say an angel came to them
And sent them here to Bethlehem,
Where in a stable they would find
A Babe, the Saviour of mankind.

Now in the stable cave they see
The infant on his mother’s knee
And gaze in wonder as they bring
Their praises to the new-born King.

Lord, may your holy angels guide
Our steps to you this Christmastide,
That, like the shepherds, we may raise
Our voices in glad prayer and praise
And feel your presence as we dine
On sacramental bread and wine.


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