A Visit From The Christ Child (a poem)

In 1822, Clement Clarke Moore wrote the poem, originally called “A Visit from St. Nicholas.”   In many American homes is it read on Christmas Eve.   It begins ‘Twas the night before Christmas’ and redefined the image of St. Nicholas, the patron saint of children, who had never before been associated with a sleigh or reindeers!

“Twas Two Weeks before Christmas…” is a rewrite of a sermon I preached first, on a Christmas Eve celebration at Red Bank Baptist Church.  It was then titled, “Twas The Sunday Before Christmas.”  My friend Stephanie Diem Zodun says it is one of her favorite sermons, and told me every year thereafter (while her pastor) that I should “preach it again.”  Then I shared that version on a Wednesday night four years ago, at Patterson Avenue Baptist Church.  Well, I am going to preached a “revised” version this Sunday.

It was inspired by a similar sermon I heard from a friend.  When I heard it, I said to myself, “I can do that!”  Some of my ryhme is based on what I heard then, plus a very good version I read, written in 1986, that I have posted below.

I am sure that this sort of thing has been done many, many times by more gifted poets and preacherts than myself, so I do not claim full authorship or originality, though I have done my best to create my own thoughts and rhymes.  I am a LEFT brain sort of thinker, so exercising my RIGHT BRAIN/creative side is always a “fun” challenge.

The rewrite of my version will be online (audio and video) sometime next week at my blog and the church web page.  It will be preached this AM, at the “Family Praise” and CHRISTMAS MUSIC celebration service at Patterson Avenue Baptist.  If you are in Richmond, come join us as we celebrate.

“A Visit From The Christ Child”  by Père Robért
(for Maria, Ida, Isabel, Maxine, Crozet & Audrey)

Twas the morning of Christmas, when all through the house
All the family was frantic, including my spouse;
For each one of them had one thing only in mind,
To examine the presents St. Nick left behind.

The boxes and wrapping and ribbons and toys
Were strewn on the floor, and the volume of noise
Increased as our children began a big fight
Over who got the video games, who got the bike.

I looked at my watch and I said, slightly nervous,
“Let’s get ready for church, so we won’t miss the service.”
The children protested, “We don’t want to pray:
We’ve just got our presents, and we want to play!”

It dawned on me then that we had gone astray,
In confusing the purpose of this special day;
Our presents were many and very high-priced
But something was missing — that something was Christ!
I said, “Put the gifts down and let’s gather together,
And I’ll tell you a tale of the greatest gift ever.

“A savior was promised when Adam first sinned,
And the hopes of the world upon Jesus were pinned.
Abraham begat Isaac, who Jacob begat,
And through David the line went to Joseph, whereat
This carpenter married a maiden with child,
Who yet was a virgin, in no way defiled.

“Saying ‘Hail, full of Grace,’ an archangel appeared
To Mary the Blessed, among women revered:
The Lord willed she would bear — through the Spirit — a son.
Said Mary to Gabriel, ‘God’s will be done.’

“Now Caesar commanded a tax would be paid,
And all would go home while the census was made;
Thus Joseph and Mary did leave Galilee
For the city of David to pay this new fee.

“Mary’s time had arrived, but the inn had no room,
So she laid in a manger the fruit of her womb;
And both Joseph and Mary admired as He napped
The Light of the World in his swaddling clothes wrapped.

“Three wise men from the East had come looking for news
Of the birth of the Savior, the King of the Jews;
They carried great gifts as they followed a star —
Gold, frankincense, myrrh, which they’d brought from afar.

“As the shepherds watched over their flocks on that night,
The glory of God shone upon them quite bright,
And an angel explained the intent of the birth,
Saying, ‘Glory to God and His peace to the earth.’

“For this was the Messiah whom prophets foretold,
A good shepherd to bring his sheep back to the fold;
He was God become man, He would die on the cross,
He would rise from the dead to restore Adam’s loss.

“Santa Claus, Christmas presents, a brightly lit pine,
Candy canes and spiked eggnog are all very fine;
Let’s have fun celebrating, but leave not a doubt
That Christ is what Christmas is really about!”

The children right then put an end to the noise,
They dressed quickly for church, put away all their toys;
For they knew Jesus loved them and said they were glad
That He’d died for their sins, and to save their dear Dad.

Copyright ©1986, F.R. Duplantier

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