If Clement Clark Moore might forgive me, I had a thought or two about his classic poem, “’Twas the Night Before Christmas.” I wondered about Joseph’s contemplations as the annoyance of civic duty interrupted concerns about his soon to be born child, the late time of pregnancy and difficulty and cold of travel. A place to stay would certainly be hit or miss in Bethlehem, of that he was likely sure.
‘Twas a time quite chill and the home lay quite hushed,
This time of census creating a time of great rush.
We were all stirring, though Mary quite slowly,
She’s due any time, a birth promised to be Holy.
Without any visions of food a-plenty on this trek,
Off we travelled, hats down tightly, with scarves on our necks.
Hoofbeats, sandals – the cold air created little clatter
And Mary, the baby, was all that could matter.
Nazareth behind, soon through Galilee and Judea –
Then to Bethlehem to register, with prayer we could see it.
We’d barely signed papers when Mary’s soft sigh
Brought some alarm since the baby was nigh.
No room at the Inns, but offered a stable
We nestled in straw, stayed warm as we were able.
The moon touched the cold, stars clung to the sky
As the bleakness of moment fell away with His cry –
The child had come, now in cloths in the manger
Little did we know we’d have guests, all strangers.
That star, so bright, rays twinkling the roof
As donkey and sheep stirred hay with each hoof.
The eerie glow of the birthplace caused me ponder
As shepherds appeared with great praise and wonder.
Their clothes were tarnished from the night of travel
To find our child and be filled with great marvel.
“A host of angels, the sky filled with great song!
Our fear melted, tidings of joy came along.
Glory to God in the highest, peace to men on earth,
We had to come see the mystery of this birth!”
Swaddling clothes, baby Jesus at rest –
More people came and we did our best –
Thankful for gifts, the worship of God, love on fire
And a warning of Herod and his plans most dire.
Mary pondered all these things in her heart
As eight days passed, then time to depart.
A stop at the temple, Jewish rights then fulfilled,
To a new route home, and life no longer chilled.
Christmas. December cold joins our days – sunshine bright as summer only hints an imagine of warmth. But, I sit a bit on my porch swing. With folded arms against the sneaky breeze, I reconsider gifts and the “will they be happy” issues that accompany the season. Such small thought at a time when we celebrate the Great Gift of God’s grace and love. Jesus came wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. Simple. And enough in faith. The ‘shows our sin’ SOS of the Old Testament becomes creased with the glorious rays of the ‘shows our savior’ SOS of the New Testament. May the footprints of Christ and the guiding star of God be with us all this Christmas. God Bless us Every One.