What IS Christmas all about?

Some recent posts ask me, “What is Christmas all about?” I am reminded of Charlie Brown’s question to Linus in A Charlie Brown Christmas, “What IS the true meaning of Christmas Linus?” For some interesting reading (comments included) check out these posts on Sharp Iron and InWorship.

Each year during December, my email box gets clogged with multiple copies of about a dozen variations of The Night Before Christmas. Some will make light of all the eating and drinking that characterizes this time of year, some will chastise us for being so mean to each other in the stores and parking lots, and some will chastise us for extravagances while much of the world goes hungry. I pretty much hate (loathe, despise, abhor) all of these variations. I do not think making light of someones poor choices is particularly kind. I do not think spamming 30 to 50 people with some rhyming rebuke is particularly kind either. So I delete these as fast as I can.

By December 2003, I could not take it anymore! In my frustration I sat down to write my own version of The Night Before Christmas that would capture not the holiday chaos but rather the celebration of the word becoming clothed in flesh. In the end, my rhyming story bears little resemblance to the original. Or maybe it bears remarkable resemblance to the original original. Whatever.

I call my rendition ‘Twas the Very First Christmas and it is my hope that these simple words will encourage you during your Christmas celebrations. I wrote these words not to berate or correct. I wrote them in hopes that we might be encouraged to live by the spirit of the living God. Of course, when we live by the spirit, our outward behavior may well change but that change would be coming from within rather than without.

‘Twas the Very First Christmas
by ric booth

‘Twas the very first Christmas, when all o’er the earth
Not a creature took notice when a virgin gave birth.
She wrapped Him up in swaddling clothes,
Nursed Him; held Him; Still, nobody knows.

The sheep were sleeping in flocks where they lie;
While shepherds stood watch under His sky.
With the Son in a manger and mama close by;
listening close, would we hear God cry?

Then all of a sudden angels appeared in the skies;
And the shepherds fell back, afraid for their lives.
The angels sang out, “A Savior is Born!”
Still no one knew; the curtain was torn.

The darkness trembled in the still of that night;
New hope was dawning with this baby of light.
“He is Christ the Lord!” the angels did sing.
How could it be, heaven had sent the king?

In hundreds an’ thousands in numbers they came;
some poor an’ some rich; all lost just the same.
A light in the sky would guide them they thought;
what little they knew of this child they sought.

All weary and broken and tired they came;
His father in Heaven calls each by name.
They’re seeking a child and an answer to “Why?”
For them God became man, to suffer and die.

Magi carried gifts to a far away town;
Gold, frankincense, myrrh they laid down.
Humbled before Him; God had come near;
How could they know, the gift was right here.

He left golden streets and His crystal sea;
choosing instead, the hill of calvary.
He went about His mission, beginning to end;
A message of love, determined to send.

Nobles and peasants, their lives He would lead;
Still no one knew; for us He would bleed.
In a barn they knelt down where the child did lay;
No one knew death would die the third day.

Like a whisper He came from Heaven above;
to finish His work; to show us His love.
People would wonder, still most do not know;
what happened in Bethlehem so long ago.

Many rulers and kings and powers that be;
have plotted to stop Him from setting us free.
Yet, centuries have come an’ centuries have gone;
their kingdoms are dust; the Christ child lives on!

© 2003-2007

Read about The First Christmas Tree


22 Responses

  1. Whoa! very good! came over from Inworships blog, and couldn’t stop reading. Thanks!

  2. wow amazing! your blog is a resemblance of your good heart.
    Thanks for making such nice poem.

  3. Thanks Darla and Joy. You would probably like My Friend too.

  4. Twice you said it – The Message was one of Love – i Like That! 😉

    You can’t Love – without internal Peace, well, not as He Loved anyways.
    Through Peace we spread Love so that His Joy is received in our hearts and our minds may be filled with His Wisdom – instead of our troubles.

    This is Key to the Path, The Way.

    Nice work.


  5. Beautiful poem Ric. I appreciate the encouraged discussion!

    Is this poem something you would allow me to use in our church this season? I think it would be well received.

    Thanks, Brent

  6. Thanks Love.

    Yes Brent, by all means.

  7. Gosh, that is really nice. Puts it all back into perspective form as well as taking some of the ‘edge’ off this season. Thanks, Ric.

  8. Thanks Christian. I think your comment (unwittingly?) reinforces the point of Jesus is my Garage Man.

  9. Impressive…very well done. Kinda funnny, when I came to your blog, I had a quick thought of, “kind of self serving putting poet, writer, speaker next to his name.” But after reading t’was the very first Christmas, I think you should put poet in bold caps. God Bless

  10. Ross, Thanks for the compliment and for reconsidering. Other friends have made similar suggestions. Thanks for the encouragement.

  11. Hi Ric,

    I just got the chance to read your poem “Twas the Very First Christmas” and it I enjoyed it tremendously! You have not only captured the real meaning of Christmas, you have captured the birth of our Lord and Saviour- in it’s true form! Thank you Ric for sharing your wonderful gift with the world! God’s blessings and love always!

  12. Incredibly poem E. It’s really touching and moving….

  13. I lapse in my responses sometimes. Ok, maybe more often. Anywho… So many wonderful and encouraging comments. Thanks Adrienne and Megan!

  14. Just one more round of fawning,

    “The angels sang out, “A Savior is Born!”
    Still no one knew; the curtain was torn.”

    Just an amazing contrast.

    I have always marveled over the confidence and the past tense in Luke 1:68 in which Zacharius, once his mouth is opened that the Lord has accomplished redemption. In a child not yet born, all his people were already redeemed.


  15. Please fawn for as many rounds as you like. Shucks, I don’t mind. 😉

    I like to mingle tenses in poetry. He exists outside of our timeline. The bible is like a sci-fi novel… I say, the first thing He did (if He had a timeline) after creation, was go to the cross. After that He headed back into the garden to confront Adam and Eve. I mean He even speaks about it like its a done deal: “God so loved the world that He gave His only son…”

    Thank you.

  16. Rock!!


    GREAT perspective!!!

    Praise Him!!!!!

  17. You may find this interesting.

    My Professor, Dave Mathewson, is finding in his research that the various Greek tenses, though bearing their own contextual point in time, are also used to serve as background information, (how we got to this point and/or on what authority the current circumstances exist), foreground information (what the big point is and what needs to happen) and frontground information (acting as either added value or consequences to the foreground or as an unrelated but important event).

    So for instance, in Matthew 16:13-21, the vast majority of the narrative is in the Aorist (observably complete action) tense, and is thereby background to the point, but the two questions asked by Jesus of the Apostles(which are really only one question, grammatically; the first question is a participle which is bound to the second question) are seemingly inexplicably in the present tense. Nothing else which Christ says is in the present tense in that section, bringing the point, basically, to the foreground suggesting an ongoing present tense. As in we are being asked.


  18. Thanks Jason. You might like this post as it continues 😉 to build on this time theme.

  19. […] posted: What IS Christmas all about? Read about: The First Christmas […]

  20. I LOVE your poem. I linked over from the blog at John Shore’s site. I was reading the comments about his Santa/Satan controversial post. I plan on forwarding your poem to many of my friends. We all need reminded this time of year what the real reason for the season is – but we need to speak (or write) the truth in LOVE. AMEN!


  21. Hi Barbara, I think this is the first I’ve seen you here. Welcome. I’m glad you like The Very First Christmas. Share wildly and Merry Christmas!

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