A man was dying on Christmas morn

Over the past few weeks a number of friends and colleagues have experienced the death of someone close to them.

Whether the person is famous or a solitary unknown, whether the room is crowded at death or the person dies alone, a rich and complex life is coming to a close. Everything has changed.

Rearranging the furniture of our homes and lives is one of the ways that humans make room for death, in much the same way as we have to shift to accommodate new life. There are remarkable similarities in the two events, so when a man was dying on Christmas morn it seemed important to notice the intricate connectedness:


A man was dying on Christmas morn
angels, fresh from the joy of Bethlehem
felt the pain in the place where he lay
concerned, they swung low
voices softening, chanting now
the rhythm of life that destabilises
yet makes us whole.

O God, breathed the man
aware of the holy presence.
It is finished then?
Not entirely, said Gabriel
(wise beyond reasoning)
reaching for the essence
that made the man human.

O God, breathed the man’s love
aware of movement, a flutter of wings
stirring the ties that bind
intricate, intense, intimate.
Leave him, she implored.
But angel voices rose on high
Gloria, Gloria in excelsis Deo!

Image: The Angel of Grief, Protestant Cemetery Rome.

6 Replies to “A man was dying on Christmas morn”

  1. Tx Sande. Sue was not into emotive descriptive death notices but the kids wanted to put ‘adored mother and grandmother’ as a nod to the Season of Angels as well as their affection for her (so they did). We celebrated her life and buried her with Tony on Advent 4 Love and deemed it appropriate to be doing so. Just a single day beteeen her funeral and Christmas Day, so I can relate to your words. (And know I number among those of whom you were thinking when you penned them).

    1. A pleasure Jan and apologies for missing this comment. My system is not working quite so well.
      So glad the words could find a way to be supportive.

  2. Beautiful words, especially appropriate to Whanganui residents who have been dealing with the loss of a young man on Christmas morning.

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