The First Sunday of Christmas: Wings and Tings by Kareem Parkins Brown

Today at the Cathedral View More
8:00am Morning Prayer
8:30am Doors open for sightseeing
8:30am Eucharist
12:30pm Eucharist
4:00pm Last entry for sightseeing
5:00pm Choral Evensong
5:30pm Cathedral closes

The First Sunday of Christmas: Wings and Tings by Kareem Parkins Brown

First Sunday of Christmas - 30 December
Wings and Tings
by Kareem Parkins Brown

The angel clears its throat,
opens up its mouth, 
then many more angels start falling out.
It’s like if airplane doors opened up mid-flight.

I stuck my staff into the dirt and then I held on tight.
Now the angels are singing - praising the creator.
I’m trying not to leave the earth prematurely, 
I’m telling myself I have to keep my original shape.
Despite the wind I must remain upright,
lest my herd mistake me for a staff.

Now when that angel first appeared I thought it was a tree on fire,
another shepherd thought some lightning had struck.
A few herders were shocked and fell to the ground 
but they had a soft landing.

Another shepherd keeps his mouth open, 
hoping to catch a blessing via osmosis.
Another shepherd only takes deep breaths 
because they did not know when they would get to breath next.
Another thought they may get chosen to be an angel if they behaved well.

The angel clears its throat,
the voice that leaves the angel is a lion on a dragon,
a soft hand on a cheek,
it is sand in the eyes and between the toes.

They announced, 
“we come to you sheep herders 
announcing a change in the meaning of royalty, 
announcing Jehovah’s do-over, a name change. 
He will be born in dirt so he can learn to rid the earth of it. 

Shepherds must be the first ones to visit 
for the saviour will be a shepherd before anything else. 
And when the saviour’s disciples are born, 
they too will be visited by fishermen.” 

We raced to Bethlehem, 
not knowing what or who we are racing, 
but we know that if we don’t get there first, 
the result will be fatal. 

The first visitors gotta be the outcasts,
the last must be first so the prophecy can be true. 
And Mary lets us sheep herders see her baby.

And we communicate via telepathy, 
swapping details of our angels, 
and how great God is. 
And Mary’s constantly finding more space in her heart for more truth.

And sheep herders, we praised god, 
for everything was just how the angels said it would be. 


How do we react to the unexpected? Do we freeze on the spot, look away, fall down, gasp for breath, stand with mouths agape or do we follow where it leads? Do we plead “no, no, not me, please not me, I am not clever enough, I am not powerful enough, I am not good enough.” Does it feel like sand in the eyes? Or do we step forward and say “let’s do this.” 

It was to the shepherds that the angels first appeared, not the rulers, not the priests, not the intellectuals, not the celebrities, but the people who lived in dirt. And once the initial shock was over the shepherds did not stand together and question and lament, “why, why, why?” but knew they had to be the first there, the first to follow the star, to be the ones who make way for the fishermen, be the first to this baby who will change the world. 

Jehovah’s do-over. 

And for their trust, for their faith, Mary shares her stories of angels. She opens her heart and gives them shelter. 

This Advent season we can reflect on the times we have shied away from a new opportunity, a new experience, a new beginning. Been too fearful or doubtful to take a chance, to have a go, to trust that perhaps we are part of a much bigger, more beautiful plan. Felt too unworthy to believe we had been chosen for something special. Can we learn to recognize that what has presented itself, to our human eyes like a tree on fire, might be a change in the meaning of royalty, a chance, through us, for something wonderful to happen? Can we, this Advent, allow ourselves to be like the prophet Isaiah, who foretold this birth, and declare boldly, “Here I am Lord, send me.”