That battered tin star
propped up above the manger
suddenly lit up during
the story about the magi,
and the old wise men in
their fancy robes lined up
solemnly next to the live
animal pen, the llama
sniffing each one in turn.

Chubby tinsel angels
huddled together against
the cold, mumbling their way
through “Away In The Manger,”
while the youngest member
of the congregation played
the starring role, one
he would hand down to
a child born next year.

But as tender a scene
as it could be, it was
the wind that caught
my attention, whenever it
rustled unexpectedly through
the seed pods in a nearby tree,
some sort of divine percussive
accompaniment to the evening’s
humble performance.

It lifted the manes
of the livestock in the pen
as they paced around patiently.
It fluttered through the angel wings
and sent the wise men’s velvety
robes flapping. It caught
my breath not by its strength
or its chill but by its eerie timing,
as it seemed to punctuate
with exclamation
and pronouncement
the star that led
the way, the birth
of the Christ child,
a joyful song of
heaven and nature,
this holy night.

Claire Juno, © 2021