'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring - not even a mouse.
were nestled all snug in their beds
While visions of Christmas gifts danced in their heads.
A holiday Barbie, some video
A basketball goal and some new rollerblades,
A new Beanie Baby - the bear or the frog,
A Giga Pet - maybe
a cat or a dog,
An album or CD, some shoes with red lights,
A brand new computer with more gigabytes!
And I, in my
jammies and mom in her gown
Were so very happy to finally lie down.
We were exhausted, the bed was our goal.
last-minute shopping had taken its toll.
The stockings were stuffed all with candy and loot,
And 'lectronic toys that
go Zot, Bleep and Zoot.
We hunted and searched so the gifts were just right.
Thank goodness for stores that stay open
We'd fought the crowds hard from dawn until dark
And that was just getting a good place to park!
hiked for two hours 'cross that parking lot,
But we were SO proud of the gifts that we'd bought.
A sweater for Mary,
a new watch for John,
Some toys for the Jones kids to clutter their lawn.
For the pastor's wife, something with sentiment
(Oh, she'll never guess that we got it so cheap)!
We'd shopped high and low all night and all day.
us out, but that was OK...
For piles of presents - all wrapped up so fine
Were under our own tree - and some of them
I'd played Santa Claus along side the best
And now I was sleepy and ready to rest.
So I, in my jammies
and mom in her gown
Went into our bedroom to finally lie down.
As we lay there, she asked me, "Oh dear, did you pray?"
Birthday, dear Jesus..and have a nice day."
"What'd she get me?" I wondered, as we lay hand in hand
And we both drifted
off into deep la-la land.
It seemed I'd been sleeping a minute or two
When I suddenly awoke to the sound of...a
"A cow at our window?" I thought, "Couldn't be!"
But I rose from the bed just to look out and see.
I went to
the window and opened the blind.
"Nothing there, I was dreaming - or out of my mind!"
Then I heard it again, this time
"Now where in the house could a great big cow hide?"
I looked back at the bed where my wife lay asleep
I heard something else! 'Twas the bleat of a sheep!!
"Something here's just not right", and I started to shake.
I looked 'round the room for a weapon to take.
"Someone's here playing pranks, and it's not very funny."
I feared they
were stealing our presents and money.
So I picked up a lamp - it was all I could find -
And I went out with retaliation
As I got to the end of the hall, I could see
There were long shadows cast by the light of the tree.
was frozen in fear as of impending doom.
There were eight or ten people in my living room!
I could tell by the shadows
that moved on the wall
There were certainly people - but that wasn't all...
There were some kind of animals also, in
They looked like big dogs and they had lots of hair!
As I crept to the room, I thought I'd soon die.
I just had to fend for my home - I'm a GUY!
When I peeked around that dark corner..Surprise!!
What I saw..I just
could not believe in my eyes.
The animals were not dogs, they were sheep!
And I saw some men kneeling, not making a
They were dressed in wool robes and they carried sticks, all -
And their shoes were all stacked on the floor in
They were all gathered 'round on their knees, I could see
Something had their attention under my Christmas
There was a small donkey and cows really big.
I thought, "Cattle and sheep, and not one single pig."
somehow in all of this weirdness, I found
That my fear was all gone. Then I heard a strange sound.
The sound was familiar
- it made me recall
When my own precious children were still very small.
Then I heard it again, and I knew it to be
sweet little coo of a newborn baby.
Then the men gathered 'round my tree kneeling began
To sing songs in the language
of some other land.
They were holy songs - that I could tell, although I
Could never explain just quite how or quite
I just KNEW, and I knew that I just had to see
Who they sang the songs for, down there under my tree.
So I inched
my way in, trying not to offend.
'Til I'd worked my way up to the front of the men.
There I saw a young man sitting
down on one knee.
He looked quite mature, although younger than me.
In his eyes, I saw wisdom, compassion, and care
the strength of a man with a great load to bear.
By his side, a young woman - barely more than a child.
But a lady so
lovely and gentle and mild.
I could see in her face - innocence and great joy.
And I saw in her arms, her new baby boy!
was awestruck indeed that this sight I should see.
Then she held out the child and nodded to me.
"Oh, I couldn't," I
thought. "That could never be right."
But she nodded again and I shuddered with fright.
Then I looked at the babe and
He looked back at me.
And I knew by His look, that this thing had to be.
So I held out my arms and she gave Him to me.
I held the Christ child beneath my Christmas tree!
He was precious and sweet, and a thrill to behold..
And the moment
was worth more than silver and gold.
And then, quite out of habit, without even thinking
I just touched the palm of
His hand with my pinky.
And just like any baby, His hand grabbed it tight!
He held onto my finger with all of His might.
was strong, but so tiny and fragile and frail;
Then I looked at His hand and I thought of the nails.
I thought of Him
hanging - His arms outstretched wide.
I thought of Him pierced with a sword in His side.
I thought of the crown made
of thorns on His head.
I thought of Him hanging there..on the cross...dead.
I thought of my sin, all my guilt and my
For my sin, He died, and that's why He came.
He rose from the dead, conquered death and the grave.
I am unworthy, my sins He forgave.
I awoke with a start, to the sound of the noise
Of a house full of children expecting
I went to the living room, still half asleep,
And kind of expected to see cows and sheep.
I could see all
was normal, as I looked around,
And deep inside, I was a little let down.
The presents were beautiful, stacked on the
But not so important as they'd seemed before.
I looked at my family and just HAD to say:
"Before we tear
into this stuff, let us pray."
We stood, hand in hand, and then each bowed his head
And, recalling what happened last
night, I said,
"Please forgive us, dear Father..sometimes we forget
That this day's not about all the presents we get.
not about friendship, it's just about You.
And what, for Your children, You're willing to do.
Forgive us, oh Lord, we
Happy Birthday, dear Jesus...and thank You for this day!"