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‘Twas the Week before Christmas…


‘Twas the week before Christmas…

               (Joseph’s Song)


‘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,

                so 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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