Summary: A Christmas sermon in poetry
Christmas Eve, 2004 Luke 2: 1-20
Grace be unto you and peace, from God our Father and from our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Let us pray: Lord God, on so many occasions we have earnestly prayed that you might reveal yourself to us, make your presence known to us, and enable us to know your saving grace. On this holy night, as we celebrate your coming among us through the incarnation of your Son, send your Spirit upon us, that we might behold your presence in our worship, grow in faith, and experience the peace you alone can give to our restless souls. This we ask, in Christ’s holy name. Amen.
On a cold, dark hilltop, not far from David’s town,
A small group of shepherds, with their sheep bedded down,
Stood watch o’er their flocks, as if guarding precious wares,
While in humble devotion, voiced their evening prayers.
Though these were men, rough hewn, by their occupation,
A place in their hearts, remained for adoration,
Of the God who created, the heavens and earth,
And who brought forth life, through the miracle of birth.
These weren’t men, who donned the riches of royalty,
Nor expressed their faith, in astute theology -
Just common shepherds, who learned to live off the land,
By the sweat of their brow, and a muscular hand.
Yet of their humble status, they would ne’er complain,
Oft recalling the time, when God chose to ordain,
A young shepherd named David, above all the rest,
To become Israel’s king, as the Scriptures attest.
So they sat by their fire, overlooking that town,
Which gave birth to the shepherd, whom God chose to crown,
By thanking him for the life, they came to enjoy,
As they plied the trade, that David did as a boy.
These were just simple folk, akin to you and me,
Just common shepherds, who through their faith came to see,
That they needn’t attain, earthly riches and might,
In order to be deemed righteous, in their Lord’s sight.
Thus they pondered in their hearts, this great mystery,
Of how God revealed his love, throughout history,
By empowering persons, of a humble birth,
To show forth his glory, to his people on earth.
So they closed their devotions, that cold night, in prayer,
That in some simple way, they might also, come to bear,
Witness to their faith, as their parents had before,
And lead their children, the Almighty to adore.
Then as their fire’s embers, faded to a dim glow,
On that dark hill top, two thousand years ago,
These shepherds continued, their vigil o’er the sheep,
With eyes growing heavy, from a lack of sleep.
When suddenly they beheld, a strange, eerie light,
At the parting of the thick, black curtains of night,
That revealed one of God’s angels, hovering near,
Who spoke in majestic glory, ever so clear.
“Do not be afraid,” the angel said, in soft voice,
“For I bring you a message, in which to rejoice,
That on this night is born, the Messiah, your Lord,
The Son of God, by all heavenly hosts, adored.
So go to Bethlehem, search for the newborn king,
And let your hearts, in gratitude and rapture sing,
As you kneel before him, in humble adoration,
For he comes to bring you, God’s promised salvation.”
Then this vision that the shepherds, came to behold,
Was expanded by more voices, who also told,
Of the dawn of God’s kingdom, coming to earth,
Through this tiny child, to whom a virgin gave birth.
The shepherds were then told, in a stable they’d find,
This infant who was born, to redeem humankind,
Asleep in a manger, on a fresh bed of hay,
Since there was no room in the inns, for them to stay.
The angels then vanished, as night’s curtain, fell back,
While the shepherds still gazed, at the heavens, now black,
Till one of them suggested, they trust God to keep,
A vigilant watch, over their bedded down sheep.
Thus they started to walk, through that cold winter night,
Illumined by the glow of simple candle light,
To the town of Bethlehem, with hope that they’d see,
This child, born according, to the angels’ decree.
With sole purpose of mind, they entered David’s town,
In search of the infant, whom God had chose to crown,
To be his Messiah, from the moment of birth -
The One God ordained, to redeem his people on earth.
Up and down the streets, the shepherds searchingly went,
Till the glow of their candles, was nearly all spent,
When they saw in the distance, a dim glow of light,
Revealing a stable, to their weakened eyesight.
So to that stable, the shepherds humbly drew near,
In the hope that this might be, the place to revere,
The child that the angels, proclaimed they would find,