A Christmas Poem

When the last wrappings
fall from hands of glee
as tinsel strays too
far from the tree
within the delight
and sparkle of the eye
we capture the
mystery of Christmas

When angels adorn
and evergreen’s hung
with songs on our lips
and carols are sung
As family gathers
both near and too far
we honor the Savior
his birth and the star

This Christmas greeting
is sent for us all
the harried, the weary
both big and the small
Christ’s birth to the lowly
redeeming, such grace
salvation for everyone
the whole human race.


The Angelic Announcement

13 At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises:
14 Glory to God in the heavenly heights, Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.
15 As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. “Let’s get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us.” 16 They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. 17 Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. 18 All who heard the sheepherders were impressed. (Luke 2:13-18 MSG)

A proclamation by a stunning Angel of light would have been extremely amazing to see in and of itself.  If we had been in that field on that night would our reaction been any different from that of the Shepherds?  Probably not.  There aren’t too many people in our day and age that have witnessed such a sight as these humble shepherds saw in pasture that night.  It’s almost a scene right out of some paranormal show, right up until the angel actually speaks you could almost envision an alien stepping out of the light with tendrils extended and the spooky sci-fi music is cued to end scene.   What happens next, by all intents and purposes shouldn’t have occurred.  The first people to hear of Messiah’s birth are lowly shepherds.  It wasn’t the mayor of Bethlehem awakened to an angelic announcement, or a foreign dignitary, the message was directed at common shepherds doing the work that others would not be caught dead doing.  For many, being a shepherd was beneath their stature in the community…yet apparently these shepherds were so important to the nativity story that God’s messengers make this startling revelation to them.  Herod wasn’t alerted, and of course we’re thankful for that.  The officials in Rome were not on the announcement list either.  Shepherds, with staffs and slings, sitting around a fire at night get this mighty earth changing announcement.  Think about that for a moment, then think about who you are.  If you’re someone important then you have some grain of confidence already, but for the rest of us who, in a very real sense, are nobodies in this world…you and I matter to God and his purposes here on this earth.  We don’t have to have Bill Gates’ money, or Kim Kardashian looks, or the mind and intellect of Stephen Hawking to be important to God, all we have to be is available to God.

The shepherds had nowhere important to go that night; their responsibility was to care for the sheep in that field.  There wasn’t a party for them to attend, or a famous symposium to speak at; they were just there protecting weakest, simple minded animal known on earth.  I still find it astounding that after all this time, after prophesies had foretold Messiah’s coming, this late breaking news reaches the common working man first.  It’s comforting to think, that though status on this earth is important, wealth on this earth is revered, God doesn’t care about such earthly titles and status symbols.  What God does care about is the heart.  It’s a humbling thought.  James 4:10 says “Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up.”  Shepherds in a humble, lowly state embody this verse for me today.    Not only did they get a single angelic messenger, they actually experienced the first and best Christmas choral arrangement never written on this earth…a master piece of music written in heaven.  That additional fact boggles my mind.  I’ve heard some amazing choirs, listened to some of the world’s best voices, but nothing would compare to the vocal concert the shepherds must have heard that night.  For me it’s has to rank up there like an extended guitar solo at an encore performance of stairway to heaven by Led Zeppelin.  The shepherds had front row seats to the best concert available at any time on earth.  That blows me away!  What these lowly sheep herders did next is not only extra ordinary but it reflects their angelic visit.  They leave their sheep in search of this foretold child in a manger.  Following their visit, still high on angelic fumes, they declare the world changing news to everyone they meet, and once told, everyone who hears is impressed at the news.

This amazing news is still relevant after all these years, and it doesn’t take the most eloquent speaker to declare it either!  God wants you to declare His majesty this Christmas!  God wants our humble hearts and lives to celebrate his birth once again.  We may not have ever experienced that front row concert of angels, but we can’t but help to be propelled to the manger bed once again.
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” Luke 2:15 (NIV)Image

The First Christmas.

Mary, seated on the back of a donkey, grimaces again as this journey seems to never end. In her discomfort, who could blame her if her attitude had turned sour amidst the many miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem? Their journey, almost four days in the making, travel weary, dusty and dirty… Mary and Joseph press on despite the constant protests by their only source of transport, the gray stubborn mule who brays every now and then breaking the pensive silence along the many miles. Over the next horizon a sight which both excites and disheartens at the same time. Bethlehem spills into their vision over the rocky crags and dusty path. It’s not a huge city mind you, but it is this young couple’s destination for the mandated census. What began with excitement having reached the end of their discomfort on the road, not settles into a strained sight. Many sojourners have also made this journey reaching Bethlehem before them. Lines of people stream in and out of Main Street; the population has drastically increased and in Joseph’s stomach settles a whole list of doubts, and fears. A series of “what if’s” float through Joseph’s head. “What if there is nowhere to stay? What will I do to help Mary get off her swollen feet? What if…what if…what if. Doubt climbs from Joseph’s stomach and into his heart as these questions become valid as they near yet another establishment offering shelter from the road. Joseph never imagined that following his supernatural visit by a heavenly being things would seem harder than before. After all, wasn’t Mary with child not of human origin proof enough, why couldn’t the Angels or even God assist in providing a place to find comfort and rest for a few days? For a brief moment He let these doubts take up residence and then as quick as an exhale of breath, he shook them off. “No.” God would provide, his messenger was certain proof of that. Casting the doubts and fears away again, Joseph and Mary continue on down the thorough fare of Bethlehem in search of bed and food.

Mary grimaces again; the contractions are closer this time, no thanks in part to the bumpy road and jarring hipbones of the mule she is seated on. It’s only a matter of time before what had been prophesied nine months earlier, would become tangible and also audible in the cries of a new born child. Mary has contemplated since the start of the journey what the baby’s features would be like, whether they would differ from any human on earth. She has felt him stir continually in the womb; he is certainly an active, healthy baby. Nearing another establishment on the far side of town, Mary breathes heavily trying desperately to remain calm in the midst of uncertainty as to where or if they can find a place to have this child. She hums the song she has hummed since the first time she felt him stir…the voice of a mother singing to her yet unseen child, is there any better picture of love than that of a love for child by their mother?

Joseph returns, but not with news of a warm bed and a room exactly…where will we be staying? The question lingers on Mary’s face before another contraction erases all concerns of comfort and replaces it with panic and a “get me off of this animal!” look on her face. Behind the small home, now converting into motel of sorts, is a place for travelers to house their mules and other journey weary animals. It’s a cave…not a four star hotel, not even a hostile on the roadway. But it’s a place to rest, and at this late hour, also a place to welcome into the world a child who is Savior of it. This is not exactly how Joseph envisioned God’s son would enter into this world. A palace would have seemed more fitting, or perhaps at least a large bustling city in a stately home, but this was not to be. He spreads the straw on the ground for Mary to get comfortable, taking off his outer garments; Joseph wraps Mary in his cloak. In the presence of livestock and the smell of dung and feed, the Savior of man enters our world. Isn’t it interesting that not only does he enter our world in the lowliest of states but Jesus amidst the earthy smells of a barn cries his first cry? The King of kings, the one who was present at the beginning of creation is now in the presence of his creation, and he is as defenseless as…well a baby. Could the scene be any more out of the ordinary? While kings and those in power jostle for more power and control, Jesus enters the world with neither…yet the entire existence and hope of the world weighs in the balance of this child laying in a feeding trough of animals. It boggles the mind. It also reminds us too of the eternal rather than the temporal. The Savior, foretold many years before this age, was here…and who was there to welcome him and invite him in? Animals, a handful of celestially shocked shepherds and eventually a few wise guys from far away.

Will you invite Him in this Christmas? Will you welcome our Savior again, renew your relationship with Him? Share it, declare it and be partakers in His birth.

“O come let us adore Him…Christ the Lord”

Adeste fideles laeti triumphantes,
Venite, venite in Bethlehem.
Natum videte Regem angelorum.
Venite adoremus (ter)

Deum de Deo, lumen de lumine
Gestant puellae viscera.
Deum verum, genitum non factum.
Venite adoremus (ter)


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