Angels fracture the dome of sky like rock shattering ice. Shepherds eye the chorus, bewildered, by heaven’s strange lullaby. Thick are the branches that block our way. Restless feet, and hunger, the measure of our days. But hope startles like the song of a canyon wren. Roots carve a crib for the desert stream. A stable gives berth to tired travelers. A child’s midnight cry is the unraveling. Shepherds’ rough hands cradle holy mystery: The boy child of Mary, and the rough carpentry Of burl and sap, manger and nativity. Midnight rustle of wings, doves perching in the rafters— Where shepherd and child meet, love and longing gather. Even the dove, resting in the rafters, murmurs gently, ever after.