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By MegAnne Liebsch

This poem, along with other Ignatian prayers, poems, reflections and art, first appeared in our free e-book, “Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places: Through the Year with Ignatian Spirituality.” Sign up to receive it at

(CNS photo/Katie Rutter)

Cerulean Threads: A Poem for Advent
The pale linoleum is cold underfoot
on the morning we decorate for Christmas.
My mother unfurls the calendar as if it were Simeon’s own sacred scroll, revealing
a simple barn, empty, save for a manger.
Twenty-six plush figures wait expectant in their numbered pockets,
to assume places upon the tableau—to witness.
Shepherds, angels, livestock, far-traveled kings,
the baby.

I favor one—Mary. Her dress is simply cut,
lithe folds of cerulean blue conjuring a feminine gravity beyond my childish comprehension.
I pluck her, Joseph and the donkey from their pockets as I reenact their journey.
Judea’s deserts span the blotted landscapes of our kitchen table.
I assign Nazareth to the salt shaker, sliding its pepper companion, Bethlehem, what seems an approximate distance. My imagination imbues the plush Holy Family with anticipation,
as if they, too, were children impatiently awaiting
Christmas morning.

My fingers remember the feel of those figures. Only now
do I sense a weight against my palm. The not-yet-mother’s exhaustion,
a profound fatigue made holy in her. A tiredness hanging off her steadfast shoulders.
The cerulean threads strain toward the floor.
Her conviction strains harder towards the heavens.

MegAnne Liebsch is the communications manager for the Office of Justice and Ecology of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States. She coordinates with OJE policy advisors to develop stories and resources that promote deeper engagement with issues of social and environmental injustice. Liebsch holds an MA in Media and International Conflict from University College Dublin and a BA from La Salle University. She is based in Washington, DC.

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