‘Twas the Year without “Christmas”
The following Christmas poem was written by Wintonbury member, Shirley Whiddon. Enjoy!
‘Twas the year without “Christmas,” when all through the land
The traditional greeting was virtually banned.
Now the changes were subtle and chosen with care,
Generic – so they would cause none to despair.
The stores had their windows all decked out in red
With terms so “correct” that they danced in my head:
“Seasons Greetings” and “Xmas” are alright to say,
As is the old standard, “Happy Holiday!”
But lo and behold, there will be such a clatter,
If anyone mentions the heart of the matter:
The birth of the Christ Child, the Savior and King,
Whose coming to earth was a glorious thing.
Now his birth is the reason for all this, you know,
Why he came down from Heaven to earth here below.
Foretold long beforehand that he would appear
To free man from sin and from darkness and fear.
The prophets of old foresaw virgin and son,
The coming Messiah, the long promised one,
Descended from Judah, through David by name,
In Bethlehem he would be born, they’d proclaim.
For centuries this was the hope among men:
Awaiting the coming Redeemer. And then –
An angel named Gabriel came out to call
On a virgin in Nazareth, which would change all.
“Glad tidings I bring you. Do not be afraid,”
Said the angel to Mary. This promise he made:
“You will be with child and you will bear a son,
Named Jesus, the Son of the Almighty One.”
“For nothing’s impossible with God,” he said.
Later Joseph, whom Mary had promised to wed,
Saw an angel who came down from Heaven to earth
To tell him about this miraculous birth.
“You will give the name Jesus to him whom she’ll bear,”
The angel told Joseph he should not despair.
The Messiah has come with salvation for man,
Forgiveness and hope, which is all in God’s plan.
Then a census was done of the whole Roman world,
As long journeys throughout the empire unfurled.
For each to the town of his origin went
To register there per his family’s descent.
So then Mary and Joseph (who’s from David’s line),
To Bethlehem traveled. Now that was a sign
Which had been foretold generations before –
The Messiah’s birthplace, per the prophets of yore.
And while they were there, in the fullness of time,
The baby was born – an event so sublime.
Yet no room in the inn, so the baby was laid
In a manger which into a bed they had made.
Nearby there were shepherds with flocks in the field,
When all of a sudden, great news was revealed.
An angel appeared saying, “Be not afraid.”
And bringing good tidings, announcements he made:
“In the town of King David, the Savior has come
Bringing joy to all people, not only to some.
He was born the Messiah, the Lord although He
Will be found in a manger. You must go and see.”
Then great numbers of angels appeared with him there,
Saying “Glory to God” as they filled the night air
Off’ring praises to God and a peace that abides
To those who believe, where his favor resides.
As the angels departed, the shepherds decided
To visit the Christ Child as they had been guided.
They found him exactly as they had been told
In cloths, in a manger, to keep from the cold.
The shepherds gave glory to God and right then
They boldly went forth, bearing news for all men.
But when Herod the King heard the stir about this
It was an event he just could not dismiss.
So he summoned the Magi, who’d followed a star.
Known also as Wise Men, they’d come from afar.
Westbound they had traveled to worship the King,
Born in Bethlehem, which was a noteworthy thing.
Though King Herod was seeking with only deceit,
The wise men were careful to stay quite discrete.
They followed the star ‘til they found the young boy
And Mary and Joseph – a cause for great joy.
Gifts of gold and some incense and myrrh they each bore,
Adoration and worship they gave him, and more.
The gold rather fitting for one born a King,
And incense for worship and praises to bring.
But the myrrh spoke of death which he’d later endure.
By taking our place as one holy and pure,
He paid our great debt – all to offer release
From sin and its penalty, to life and peace.
Now this was the purpose, the reason, he came,
To offer the very best gift one could name.
It’s free for the taking for all who believe,
Who his offer of life and forgiveness receive.
So as we enjoy all this glad celebration
Remember the best gift in all of Creation:
Which God gave to man through His Son born that day.
“Merry Christmas!” – with all of its meaning – we say.
© 2014 Shirley Whiddon