`Twas the night before Christmas, when all through God’s house
Not a creature was stirring, not a wife, not her spouse;
The children were restless, all crammed in their pews,
The thought of their presents they could not refuse;
The stockings were waiting, hung at home with great care,
In hopes that some people soon would be there.
The pastor in vestments for obvious reason,
Had just settled her brain after a long Advent Season.
When out from the lectern there arose the old story,
Of a Child in a manger, born in such glory.
Yet none sprang from his seat, nor gasped in great wonder.
All had heard the story, both hither and yonder
Of how God came to earth, in form of a boy,
To bring peace to earth, and life and joy.
The pastor she spoke, in voice strong and bold,
The story of Christmas, that she retold.
Had it all become trite now; did it still matter?
For life’s full of problems, much sorrow, and clatter.
The bills, they were mounting; the jobs, full of stress,
And all folks were dealing with demands and duress.
And sickness, no stranger to God’s people on earth,
Suff’ring and death had robbed many of mirth.
Problems and mem’ries which live in the mind,
Guilt, fear and vices, the heart they do bind.
When all of these troubles fine people do ponder,
Their minds fill with dread; they start then to wonder:
“How could a Baby born years ago past,
Bring balm for our sorrows, hope that will last?
How can that story heard so many a time
Bring any more help than an old children’s rhyme?”
So knowing what fear and worry can do,
The pastor spoke thusly on Luke chapter two:
“I read you this evening of peace come to earth,
So familiar the story, this one of Christ’s birth.
Born to a maiden, in a stable so bare,
Some shepherds, they came, to worship Him there.
Then angels appeared in garments so hoary,
‘Peace to all men, and to God be the glory’.
This baby grew up, like you and like me,
He even would work by carving a tree.
He taught for three years in old Israel land,
And proclaimed a deep peace that could never be banned.
But much more than teaching and preaching did he,
He became love incarnate, exuding pure chi.
For this baby was born for one purpose only,
A purpose so noble, yet painful and lonely.
To become fully human, divine light reveal
Till the darkest of hearts would with hope learn to squeal.
And the outcasts he greeted with a grace not conceited.
Till meekest among us rejoiced undefeated.
For his goal was no less than to free up the world
From the fear, greed and meanness in which it had whirled.
Not surprisingly big wigs began to decry
How he mirrored divine love with twinkling eye
Infusing great faith in the powerless masses
Till they trusted their own Light, both lads and lasses.
With trees He did work, and on a tree He did die,
Then buried by some friends in a grave site nearby.
An innocent man had died for a reason;
Liberation from hate that was so in season.
Then inside the tomb there arose such a clatter,
Guards rose from their slumber to see what was the matter.
An angel appeared, tossed aside that great rock,
The guards all stood frozen, amazed and in shock.
`Fear not’, the beginning of all angel message,
`Life has returned to remove every vestige
Of small hearts, separation and all fear of hell,
Till you see God in each face, wherever you dwell.’
That God is in us is a truth elementary,
That reaches down into this twenty-first century.
So on this night before Christmas, to all in God’s house,
Bless you, all creatures, even if you’re a louse.
For a Child has been born for me and for you,
To rekindle Inner Light and give us a clue
Of a joy all around us, a hope and a cheer
That connects ev’ry person throughout the new year.
Whatever your problem with me now take heart,
Divine Life is within us, let’s make a fresh start.”
Then the pastor concluded with an unusual plea,
She called out their names, and did so with glee.
“Now, Scottie! Now, Herbie! Now, Miss Jane and Val’rie!
On Omar! On Sarah! On Anya and Mall’ry!
A Child was born that first Christmas night,
Let hope be reborn, no matter your plight.
Out to the world, we go with the story,
Of a Cosmos that loves us and gives us such glory.”
They sprang to their cars, to their friends they gave greeting,
And away they all flew, for time, it was fleeting.
But I heard them exclaim, ere they drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all. And to all a good night.”