May 15, 2012
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On a dusky back street stands a small store,
Smeared panes are dark and secure is the door.
Chill grips its timbers for cold is the fire;
The snow at the threshold is heavy wet mire.

Gone is the luster of the red-brick facade,
The window’s reflection is dim and wan.
Inside is a counter all covered in dust,
Grime layers the room—thick blanket unmussed.

If one were to stand back and look o’er the roof
At the horizon’s sky, jagged and rough,
Shining brighter than the city’s glow is a sign
To the world proclaiming “Happy Holidays.”

The huge billboard announces invitingly,
“Come to the mall: reduced price shopping spree.”
Motors hum and speakers discordantly blare;
Counting holiday profits, office lights glare.

In the shop’s dark window, forgotten on the sill,
A banner: “peace on earth, to men good will”
Fraying are its edges and torn are its ends,
Years past it was hung, but there’s none to mend.

Above the counter on a shelf in plain view,
So strung with cobwebs that it gives no clue
Of its inside, is a miniature barn;
Though aged and worn it has suffered no harm

The figures within depict the age-old scene:
A child, parents, and surroundings mean,
And shepherds who gather to worship their king,
Their God to Whom themselves they do bring.

This last Christmas did you remember the king?
Did you worship him, yourself to him bring?
Or did you only look to your own gain,
And abandon him for whom Christmas is named?

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