It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Crowds at the mall sprawl with a message to all


That chalk lines aren’t color blind

At least not in my Bethlehem.

Little boys have a right to be born in mangers

But dangers walk the beat with sticks

And uniforms establish norms that make mothers mourn

The day their sons were born

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Not the kind on the hallmark card

Because it’s kinda hard to sing goodwill toward men

When we bend morality and call it legality

Or a technicality…They prepped the crowd

And then spoke real proud for 20 minutes

To explain why my pain won’t go down the drain

When Pilate washes his hands like an employee

And Barrabas the criminal goes Scott free.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

No room in the inn or the shelter

No face cards in the hand that was dealt her

Why talk about a tree when what she needs is a degree

And a meal would be ideal, so she steals

And the presence of those absent from the solution

Look at her like she’s the problem and

Drugs won’t solve them. No matter how many cars

Slow down on her corner.

Joseph won’t marry her; the government won’t carry her

The church wants to bury her alive under a hymn.

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Silent nights, domestic fights, Herod on the hunt

For boys who might jump or much less rise

So shoot to kill between the eyes with which we despise our own.

I can’t breathe, can you? Because I seethe, you through?

With anger and prayer for the incarnation of peace?

But before we can collect ourselves, we have to reconnect ourselves

And by faith dare we even let ourselves hope.

The contract is still out, you know. The search is still on, you know

At least in my Bethlehem. Have you seen the child?

What childhood is this? What did I miss?

During the long winter’s nap between Emmett and Trayvon

The list is just too long…

But that’s how it looks at Christmas

The market will erase the image of God

From the season, and X out the reason,

For the Savior’s coming by drumming up business as usual.

Unless we reach deeper into the gospel

And stop coddling our pews in swaddling news

No more milk for grown people! No more silk for cold steeples!

How will they hear unless we preach?

How will they know if we don’t teach?

Who will repair the ancient breach?

While Linus dies for Lucies, and cameras capture movies

Of terror and abusies …and people question the use-sies

Of talking about heaven when all hell has broken loose.

These are the times that try mens’ souls

Tangled lights don’t shine in a world this cold

So loosen your tongues like the prophets of old.

Crying loud and not sparing, but daring to speak to power with truth

Like the youth who clearly respond more readily to

The word dwelling in our midst than yelling a list of rules.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

And all through the house let your light so shine

On the blind spots in this world

So that justice will roll like thunder and no one will wonder

Whether God hears what we hear, or cares about our tears

Because love will show up in me and in you

And compel us to do what we are called to do.

There is a Method to this madness, a purpose for this sadness

God will resurrect gladness. Never mind how long the line

Await with anticipation the exchange of beauty for ashes

At Christmas. And point the world in the direction of the star

It may seem far but if we seek it, if we speak it,

Preach it plain – It will rain – blizzards of justice

Even in the very valley of whitewashed tombs and stained glass rooms

Christ – mass will come fast…like a thief in the silence of night

Blast the trumpet; and heed yourselves the sound.

And if they resist so be it. Perhaps some will see it.

That salvation has come, and will. Already and still.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.


Rev. Dr. Wanda Bynum Duckett

Rev. Dr. Wanda Bynum Duckett is a spoken word poet who serves as Pastor of Mt. Zion United Methodist Church, Baltimore, Md.