The Way to Bethlehem

The Way to Bethlehem


I thought to go up in my mind this year once again

To Bethlehem, to see with my own mind’s eye

The newborn Jesus even though I know

He is not just born. I look up through bare trees on my way

To see if there are new angels, hear only passing breezes,

No songs. Starting out in New Hampshire, Bethlehem

Is impossibly far, especially on foot, but this interior pilgrimage

Transports me over ocean, continent, desert. Its ease

Dilutes the suffering necessary to pilgrimage, I suspect,

Yet reaching there seems first.


A Presence joins me. Jesus inquires Would you go up to Bethlehem?

Lord, I would go up, to try, beside your manger, with all my strength

To grasp the ungraspable, your Incarnation.

His footsteps slow and pause; mine, too. In His loving voice He says,

If you would go to Bethlehem, if you’d be present to my Incarnation, know

The way to Bethlehem does not ascend. You cannot arrive at Bethlehem

By going up.

The way to Bethlehem descends.

Descend, descend to Bethlehem.


Deanna Harrington Christiansen

Advent 2021

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