1 At the census in the city,
at the crossing place of life,
where the homeless and abandoned
share the scars of human strife;
mid the rubble and the ruins
shedding God's prophetic light
see, a star is softly shining
through the horror of the night.
2 In the cross of shifting shadows
see a mother and her child,
see the wetness of his features,
freshly born, so not yet filed.
In a world of cold statistics
yet another mouth to feed,
for the parents' love holds tension
with a calling, crying need.
3 So from Bethlehem in history
to this present place and time,
God has entered human anguish,
sung in tune to human rhyme;
yes, the baby that we welcome,
yes, the Christ of Palestine,
are as one, we seal remembrance
in a feast of bread and wine.
[signature of love's design.]*
4 For the ruin of the manger,
this prefig'ring of the cross,
offers Christ as our relation
in our chaos and our loss,
puts the Christ into the present,
places God in human hands,
tests our loving and our living
here in this and every land.
*for use when there is no communion
Andrew E Pratt (born 1948)
Words © 2003 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England email@example.com . Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd
Metre: 8 7 8 7 D
Tunes: BETHANY (Smart); ABBOTS LEIGH