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!
Read about The First Christmas Tree