Plea for Inclusivity in Nativity Scenes

If we allow that any animals were present at the Incarnation
It seems unduly parochial to privilege our familiars.
If there was an ox, an ass, a camel,
Surely we must also grant other culture’s farmyard beasts;
Yaks, waterbuffalos, llamas.
More likely all the animals knew and came.
Making their way across unimaginable distances,
Swimming the oceans, climbing the mountains:
Penguins and polar bears from the distant arctics,
Tigers from India, zebras from Africa,
And all the way from China,
Bending over the manger in bewildered delight,
A small group of enthusiastic pandas.
Crowding into the stable, clustering together
Canonical lamb and unlikely lion, mouse beside elephant, robin, lizard, scorpion,
And everywhere, moving among them, angels.

20th December 2005