O LITTLE TOWN (5 Christmas cards)


In stock


Text John L. Bell/ Design Graham Maule, copyright (c) 2007 WGRG, Iona Community, Glasgow, Scotland

Available as long as stocks last

A plain deep purple cover, with text celebrating the marginality of Jesus’ incarnation, avoiding the cliched sentimentality and romance of the original ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’.

No greeting

Pack of 5 cards with envelopes

Colours: (card) purple on white 250gsm matt art board

Size: (card) A4 flat, folded into 6 pages




O little town of Bethlehem,
how rowdy you appear
as homecome emigrants are buoyed
by sentiment and beer.
The long-haired tearaways return
grandfatherly and grey,
and former glamour pusses’ pasts
emerge in all they say.

Who knows if Ned the publican
whose rooms could take no more
would pleasantly or angrily
greet strangers at the door?
Who knows if he had cats and dogs
around his cattle shed,
or whether robins twittered on
or even Mrs Ned?

But if he leased his stable out
to be a labour room
to some expectant mum
and her embarrassed groom,
the breath and stink of tethered beasts
would set the midwives wild
if keen to minimise the risk
to Mary and her child.

And would poor shepherds, when disturbed
from midnight peace and calm,
presume a new born baby boy
would want to hold a lamb?
And if the Magi from the East
did ‘enter in all three’,
were they distinctly Siamese
in bending just one knee?

And did the baby never cry,
and was the mother mild
when Herod sensed that he’d been duped
and let his men run wild?
And was the father pre-programmed
to take a passive part
when one old man foretold the child
would break his mother’s heart?

Christ was not born at Christmastime
invoked by practised choirs,
embraced by plastic mangers
and fulfilling our desires.
No kindergarten was his home,
no drummer boy his page,
no earth had frozen snow on snow
when God had come of age.

Instead on the periphery,
eccentric through decree,
the power behind the universe
was born a refugee;
a refugee from heaven above
became the world’s creator,
and chose an unknown peasant girl
as host and liberator.


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