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‘Twas the week before Christmas…


‘Twas the week before Christmas and all through the place
every person was caught in the holiday race;
The stockings weren’t hung; they’d not even been found,
and the cards were not sent, and nowhere around
were the cookies that should have been all baked and ready;
nor the ornaments made, nor the dinner plans steady.
And I with a sigh and Mama with a yawn
wondered how we would finish before Christmas dawn.
There we sat, not so nice, on the living room couch;
one tired and sad, and the other a grouch.

Perhaps we were snoozing; I don’t really know,
but something or someone had startled us so
that we sprang to our feet to see what was the matter
while our hearts raced ahead of their usual patter.
When what to our wondering eyes should appear
but a village alive ‘neath a night starry clear.

“Come this way,” a voice seemed to lead us along
through a close, winding street towards the sound of a song.
There were people all over, crushed shoulder to shoulder,
and to stay with our guide we pushed on a bit bolder
until we were standing in front of a door
that was open, revealing a bare, earthen floor
and a rude, little room set with a straw and a trough
and a trio of doves cooing down from a loft.

“More water!” another voice hurried on by;
then a shout, “He is here!” and a woman’s sharp cry.
And the song was replaced by a baby’s first squall,
and a poor woman’s tears from her nest in the stall.
“He is beautiful!” now a man softly exclaimed,
and his voice starting humming the song once again.
And taking his shawl, then the baby was clothed
in the prayers of his father and the love of all those
who had gathered to marvel at this long-waited birth
of a child and a promise and a hope for the earth.

“Yeshua is his name,” soft the voice of his mother;
“God will save” was the murmur from one to another;
And the crowd backed away, and the babe fell asleep,
and the man looked to heaven and started to weep.

“Forgive me for doubting” he pled to the sky,
“all the words of the prophets from days long gone by
that you’d never abandon your creatures below.”
And again came his song in a voice rich and low:
a simple refrain as his lullaby swelled,
“I love you, my child, my Emmanuel.”

And then the dream vanished as quickly it came;
and we wakened to find most our things much the same.
Still the presents and parties and jobs to be done,
still the days over full and the work under fun.
But yet, in another way, subtle and true
this frantic-paced waiting is changed and made new;
Priorities shifted, and new questions raised:
Just what does it mean when the Lord of all Days
Comes to live ‘mongst his people and take as his own
their sins to be healed, and their hearts as his throne?

While the motive behind all our busy-ness is
to do just what is right; still the holiday’s His.
All our gifts and our getting can never compare
to the gift of the child and the life that is there.
So I think of the song; may it fit to my voice!
May there be no temptation, no darkness, no choice
that would keep my own life from attesting it well:
“I love you, my child, my Emmanuel.”


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