swaddled Savior

the stony hills are shrouded in darkness, the shapes of shrub
and sheep and shepherd almost indistinguishable in the gloom.
the wind whines down the valleys and scours the ridgetops,
lulling the weary watchmen toward sleep with its dirge.
without warning a beam of light sears the sky, setting the air
a-tingle with its energy; shepherds and sheep start upward in alarm.
fear not! a rich and vibrant voice echoes all around them.
fear not, for i bear you a message of wondrous joy for all the earth!
now witness this mystery: today in the city of king david’s birth
has been born to you a Savior — even the Messiah, the Lord of all things.
and your portent is this: you shall find a swaddled baby
lying in a trough from which animals feed.
at that baffling declaration, the heavens errupt and myriads upon myriads
of angel voices reverberate across the hills like thunder:
glory, glory, glory to God in the highest to the uttermost extent of praise,
for Peace is come for those on earth with whom He is pleased.
the light withdraws, the voices vanish; the shepherds stand a-tremble in the dark.
let us go to david’s city and see this wondrous thing the Most High has made known to us! 
feet rush along the miles of twisting paths, guided by excitement,
until, on the edge of the village, they stumble into a stable.
in the insufficient light they squint to see a kind-faced man
and a girl of a woman, bone-weary but with shining eyes.
and there, in a wooden box from which a cow is still eating,
lies a newborn swaddled Savior, sleeping.