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.”