He stood beneath the oaken door,

its haunting frame on high.

His cassock frayed and dirtied o’er,

dark mud stains on his side.


With mouth agape and widened eyes,

he gazed upon the stone.

The thickened walls of looming size,

hewn years and years ago.


He raised his torch and by its light,

the darkness now dispelled—

A fortress deep in sacred night,

its story soon to tell.


The monk could not believe it still;

the tales they’d told were true!

For deep within these wooded hills,

a prophecy renewed.


His breath, it came in shallow gasps.

he dared to raise his hand,

to touch the wood, to feel the glass,

the mortar and the sand.


But through the shadows deep, behold:

A light within the house!

Sprang suddenly, new life from old;

a hope where once was doubt.


A mighty wind, the door flew wide.

It beckoned him, “Draw near!”

But nightmares raced through haunted mind;

he knew naught else but fear.


“Can only fly, can only fly!”

His thoughts could find no ground.

But just as soon a voice drew nigh,

and bade him turn around.


So deep was he lost in the dark,

could scarce bring pause to tread.

But Spirit whispered, calming, “Heark!”

And broke the spell of dread.


The dead leaves crunched beneath his feet,

the wind, it howled anew.

But fear and light this night would meet,

and find out which were true.


So onward trod he, toward the light,

as heart and throat drew near.

Through shaking knees he fought the fight,

‘midst haze that would not clear.


The door drew nigh, the fortress called.

His heart could naught but ache.

As longings deep in hallowed walls,

caused bones long-dead to wake.


And as he neared the sacred space,

he could not help but feel:

In some strange way he knew this place,

a dream no one could steal.


Now finally, the threshold nigh,

his flesh began to quake,

The blinding light, now deep and wide,

would soon himself unmake.


He’d heard the words a thousand times,

he knew all would be well,

and tears sprang to his empty eyes,

as hope fills vacant shells.


With each step on, his feet grew light.

His walked turned to a run.

Away from dark and demon’d night,

and toward the rising sun.


The cloak dropped from his weathered frame—

no more he’d need to hide.

No masquerade, no fear, nor shame,

could stem this rising tide.


And as the rays of searing light

burned all he was away,

his flesh and heart and soul and mind

were turned from night to day.


No longer could he hide the joy

that thrummed within his breast.

He felt himself a little boy,

who’d turned from East to West.


Yet as he passed the oaken door

and stepped into the room,

he saw it there upon the floor,

not an IT—but WHOM!


The child was sleeping deep within

the manger, sod, & hay.

His tiny cries raised a heavn’ly din,

on this most sacred day.


The monk gazed down upon the child.

The source of all this light

was anything but meek and mild;

the one who wrong made right.


This light it burns the old away;

the death of sin and shade.

First Adam killed, his moldy clay

shall never be remade.


Yet greater still, this manger-king,

The Phoenix soon to rise.

The light has dawned, the bells now ring:

The risen one, the Christ!