Adoration of the Christ Child: Jacob Cornelisz van Oostsanen, c. 1515

Adoration of the Christ Child, Jacob Cornelisz van Oostsanen, c. 1515
Sometimes it’s not the infant’s holy face
 
that awes us, but the teeming blitz of cherubs
 
wielding horns and lutes to fill the Arab
 
stable with their overweening praise.
 
If neither Mary nor the shepherds glance
 
their way, remember that, while putti bow
 
the beams and swell their cheeks in this tableau,
 
such hosts are rarely seen and sing in silence.
 
Still, we need directions to which manger
 
holds the Christ. We want melodic wings
 
to tell us God has come. We usher them
 
inside and close our eyes to hear. The danger
 
then is that we crown the worship king:
 
hymn blunts our prayer until we look at Him.
Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement
More: Poems

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

The leaders sent a letter to President Donald Trump, administration officials and members of Congress.
Altar servers lead a Palm Sunday procession March 25 in Youtong, in China's Hebei province. (CNS photo/Damir Sagolj, Reuters)
The pope appeared to be alluding to the fact that since February there has been a crackdown by the Chinese authorities on religion in the mainland.
Gerard O’ConnellMay 23, 2018
Chilean clerical sex abuse survivors Juan Carlos Cruz, James Hamilton and Jose Andres Murillo in Rome, May 2. The three met Pope Francis individually at the Vatican April 27-29. The Vatican announced on May 22 that a second group of abuse victims will visit the pope in June (CNS photo/Paul Haring).
The encounters will take place from June 1-3 at Santa Marta, the Vatican guesthouse where Francis lives.
Gerard O’ConnellMay 22, 2018
Pope Francis talks with Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston, president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, as they arrive for a meeting in the synod hall at the Vatican in this Feb. 13, 2015, file photo. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) 
Righteous call-outs should be patterned after Cardinal O’Malley’s rebuke of Pope Francis on sex abuse.
Simcha FisherMay 22, 2018