At our Christmas Eve services this year, we shared the wonderful poem/carol by Cheryl Lavornia. She captures the familiar cadence of a cultural classic but re-forms it into a beautiful re-telling of the Greatest Story Ever Told! Enjoy!
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the manger,
Not a creature was stirring, not even the strangers.
The cattle were lowing, waiting with the mare,
In hopes that a baby soon would be there.
See it all started some nine months back
When an angel appeared to Mary announcing the fact
That she would conceive and be found with child
He would be God’s Son, so meek and so mild.
And Joseph, Mary’s spouse, not wanting to make a clatter,
Vowed to divorce her quietly and settle the matter.
But an angel appeared and flew like a flash,
Into his dreams – stopping his fear in a dash.
The angel told Joseph the News he should know,
Gave the plans of our God to His creatures below.
“Do not be afraid, for soon shall appear,
God’s Word become flesh, and a light to all near.”
This baby they’d been waiting on, now seemed so quick,
So Joseph believed and took Mary, his pick
Off to Bethlehem for the census they came,
To be claimed as David’s descent; called by his name!
“Now Adam, now, Seth, now Abram and Isaac,
On Jacob, On Judah, on Boaz and David!
To the top of God’s family, to those answering His call,
Now make a way! Prepare the way! Here’s a way for all!”
As angels before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the mountain-top the messengers flew,
To some shepherds…. and their little sheep too !
And then, in a twinkling the sky was their roof
And the host of angels offered some proof.
“Fear not, for behold, good tidings abound,
Good news for all people in Bethlehem’s found.”
“He’s dressed in swaddling cloths, from his head to his foot,
In a manger, this small baby lay put.”
The angels sang, as to heaven went back,
“Glory to God! Peace on earth; now get up and pack.”
Their eyes, how they twinkled, those shepherds so merry!
So they left the sheep sleeping, taking what they could carry!
The outcast, the child, the old women low,
The leper, the stranger, and all who had woe.
They hurried to the manger, they barely could breathe,
Their hearts were encircled with hope like a wreath.
As they spied Mary & Joseph, they slowed down their run,
What did peace look like; the Christ child, God’s own Son?
He wasn’t chubby or plump, but a real human babe,
How odd that a king be born in a stabe.
A wink of Mary’s eye and a twist of her head,
Soon gave them to know – they had nothing to dread.
They spoke not a word, but marveled at God’s plan,
To save humankind through Jesus, the Son of Man.
This babe would be hung up, pierced hands and toes,
But would soon conquer death, when he arose!
So Mary and Joseph, shepherds and kings,
All testify to the joy that this night of nights brings!
Jesus came to stop death and sin’s dark plight,
So we can exclaim, “Happy Christmas to all,
Jesus is setting things right!”
_Cheryl Lavornia, Copyright 2010