My Version of "Twas the Night Before Christmas"

'Twas Christmas Eve worship, when all thro' the church
drowsy worshipers awoke, and stood up with a lurch;
The paraments were hung by the staff with great care,
In hopes the baby Jesus soon would be there;

The children were told stories of God in their stead,
While visions of the great city danc’d in their heads,                                                                                                  
Mama had swept the pulpit, and I’d  run off  the vermin,
The congregation settled in for a long winter's sermon —

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my seat to see what was the matter.
Away to the belfry I flew like the wind,
Looked over the railings, boy, did I bend.

The light was uncanny and lent the world a bright splendor,
Gave the luster of fulfillment straight from its Sender;
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a Lion-like Lamb with wounds so severe,
and seven eyes and seven horns, it couldn’t be a stranger,
I knew in a moment it was the child in the manger.

More rapid than eagles his angels they came,
Saying “Fear not, oh, fear not” as they called out  my name:
"Come to the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!
"Come now!  Come now! Dash away with me all!"

“I came as a baby, I’ll return as the Lord,
bearing as my mission my Father’s gracious Word.
It heals as it wounds, binds up a broken heart,
it lifts up the poor, and puts down with a start
the rich who won’t share or act right and fair,                                                                                                                         It announces the dawn of God’s Day, glory fills the air.

“This started at my birth,                                                                                                                                                     And spread through the earth,
God’s movement among humans to set all things right:                                                                                                          to turn the world upside down, light to banish the night.

“My coming was humble, it lacked all the glory
of a Messiah and ruler, whose end was so gory.
I looked not at all like Messiah in any way:
indeed, on the cross most turned their face away.

“None quite understood, not even my closest friend
the strange plan of God in my inglorious end.                                                                                                                          I died as I lived, you see, and lived so to die
that’s the way of God’s life when sin’s reduced to a sty                                                                                                  God’s good creation and bent the humans he meant
to care for it and each other, give each other a tent.

“I lived as humans should and died so they wouldn’t
be barred forever from the life that they couldn’t
reach on their own or share with each other.
Instead I became for them both father and mother.

“My dying set them free                                                                                                                                                           to be all they could be.
My Spirit I gave them so they would be free.
to live and to love - and be mistaken for me!

“Not really a mistake, though, for in them I live.
with all the Father’s good gifts to spread and to give
to each one and every, the charge to be generous
and transform their lives into something momentous.

“So go now, my friends, dash away all!
From the best and the brightest, the weakest and small!
Be my people, my likeness so the whole world can see
what it means to worship a baby, when that baby is me!

“I’m coming once more, a grown up this time,                                                                                                                       to finally and fully make all fair and fine.                                                                                                                             So worship this night and on the morrow hit the streets                                                                                                       bearing and sharing a life that will know no defeat.                                                                                                               

“The hurts and losses you meet on this way                                                                                                                         may well depress you and lead to dismay,                                                                                                                             but in the alchemy of grace your weakness is strength,                                                                                                       even death itself loses its length.                                                                                                                                         

“I rose from the grave so full of new life                                                                                                                               that naught may deter you from becoming my wife.    
We’ll live together, humanity and me,                                                                                                                                      a reflection of my Father, object of his glee!

“This is what Christmas means, my friends and my people,                                                                                            That’s why you’re here – now flee from under this steeple!                                                                                              Give gifts, random kindness, and do justice for the small -                                                                                            Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas to all!


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