(The following was published in the Newsleader on December 24, 2009)
Christmas means different things to different people. For some it is toys and gifts. For some it inspires charity. For others it is a family time when Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents and others gather together for meals and just plain being together. It was certainly my favorite time of year when I was a child. We always had a decorated Christmas tree and there was always family and great food. I can still remember the stockings that were filled with treats and fruit from Santa. My father would play Christmas carols on the record player while we opened our stockings. We waited until Christmas morning to open our presents. It was a very exciting time, but even then we all knew the religious significance of the Holiday.
As I grew older my Christmas changed some but the meaning for me has never changed. For one thing I joined the Army and experienced my first Christmas away from home. My memory of that first Christmas away from home was brought back to me recently when my wife and I were going through some papers that my late mother had kept. One of the items we found was a poem I wrote as a gift for her in 1959 while stationed in Europe. I had forgotten it but she had had it published in our local newspaper and kept it in her papers. Reading it flooded me with memories.
While that was fifty years ago, I remember that Christmas as if it were yesterday. It was beautiful with fresh snow that seemed to hush all the noise of daily life. At the time I wrote the poem Handel's Messiah was playing on the sound system. The "Hallelujah Chorus" still sends chills up my spine. I was stationed in the land where Handel lived and wrote. For this special season I thought I would share this very personal poem with you as a greeting for Christmas. I know my mother wouldn't mind. I hope you enjoy it.
Twas the night before Christmas and all through the land
The world was at peace by God's mighty hand
The shepherds were watching their sheep in the night
And looked in amazement at a great shining light
When all of a sudden there came from the sky
Angels singing praises to our God on high
The shepherds were fearful and shook at the sight
But the Angels said, "Peace, for there's good news tonight
For you there's a Savior born in a city not far
You can find him by following the great shining star
The great star will lead you to the place where he lay
In a stable for sheep, He's asleep in the hay"
Then the Angels were gone but the air still did ring
And the shepherds said, "Now let us go find our King"
The shepherds did as the Angels had said
And followed the star to our Savior's bed
They knelt down and worshiped this small newborn child
Savior to the world yet so tender and mild
Then the shepherds proclaimed to all that they saw
That Jesus was born in a manger of straw
That Christmas was first with more on the way
And that's why I wish you Merry Christmas today.
Ron Scarbro Christmas 2009
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