Post-Christmas Limbo

The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is often a bit of a let-down, a limbo that has a diminished glow of the Christmas celebrations, but is not yet the full resumption of everyday duties that will begin in earnest after New Year’s.  This is more particularly true if we have had a deep spiritual experience in revisiting the meaning of the birth of Christ, or even a rich re-connection with our families.  The aftermath is an anti-climax.  

As I thought about this, I tried to imagine what it was like for the shepherds after the first flush of the Nativity Night, when they were chosen to be the first witnesses of the Incarnation.  The days immediately afterward must have been full of the telling of what had happened to them, but I can imagine that as time went on, they needed something more than the thrill of relating those spectacular events.  It’s that maturing of realization that I wanted to depict in the following poem.

After Immersion in Glory

First flush of Glory faded now,

How shall we return to our flocks?

Having eagerly reflected the Light received,

Having believed the angel’s words

And seen the unlikely Babe

Born in a barn,


How now to fit that flash

With tedious tasks resumed

In nights as dark as ever?

The word we heard

Burst in on reality,

A pregnant pause in vacuous vigils,

Now duller made

By memory of angels’ song.


And yet a remnant of light is left,

No more in arching, starry sky,

But seeded in ourselves.

How now to deal with Word

Not merely heard and told,

But planted?


Time suspended transmutes

To time extended;

Shadowed Glory puts out shoots

From roots of all that we have seen.

The fields about are still the same,

But we are fertile soil

To grow the Glory

That will not fade.


--Elton D. Higgs

  Dec. 29, 2015



Elton Higgs

Dr. Elton Higgs was a faculty member in the English department of the University of Michigan-Dearborn from 1965-2001. Having retired from UM-D as Prof. of English in 2001, he now lives with his wife and adult daughter in Jackson, MI.. He has published scholarly articles on Chaucer, Langland, the Pearl Poet, Shakespeare, and Milton. His self-published Collected Poems is online at He also published a couple dozen short articles in religious journals. (Ed.: Dr. Higgs was the most important mentor during undergrad for the creator of this website, and his influence was inestimable; it's thrilling to welcome this dear friend onboard.)