A Christmas Nightmare . . .

Mary. Mary, Mary, wake up,
You’re sweating and it seems your cup
Is overflowing with grief and sorrow
That cannot be quelled until tomorrow
Brings its promise of a better day
Oh Mary, why are you acting this way?
Come sit and calm beside the fire
And tell me what calamity has transpired
In your thoughts that could throw your lovely form into such fit
And cause such pain to spread across your face, sit
Share, and let me bear this burden you have so deep inside your soul
Before the stress of it begins to take its toll
And mars your face so beautiful and full of grace

Yes; tell me of the dread that has once again filled our bed
With weeping and unrest; yes
Rest your head upon my chest and tell to me again
How troubled your worried sleep has been
Was it the same dream as the night before?
Was it the one you’ve prayed would come no more?

Was it the one about our firstborn Son?

Oh, Joseph you know it was
And it seems as though it comes because
He’s trying to warn us against a grave misdeed;
To guard against forsaking what the angels decreed
To the band of shepherds who came to see
The miraculous birth of their eternal King:

I remember their faces well,
And the story that they began to tell:
Of the time their mundane lives were filled with mirth;
Of the glimpse of glory God whispered on this earth
To proclaim the birth of the son I was to bear
And the Glory that was due his name;

Oh to see them stare and worship the child
That they had taken such care to find….
I overheard one of them say that:
From the way the angels’ faces gleamed
That surely the event behind their message
Was the greatest thing they had ever seen;
The angels knew where the highest praise was due
And the shepherds worshiped our son like they believed it was true
I wonder if, when they gazed upon the face of the eternal word,
Those shepherds knew
That they were part of this good shepherd’s herd
Yes, that was the decree, the culmination of Israel’s history
To ever bow before their king,
To never stop or cease to bring him glory . . .

But now on to the dream
That has robbed my last few hours of sleep

I was in a land so odd and strange to me
That it was hard to even see
What was taking place in this fairy-tale
Existence, lived by this busy, hurried race

It was a gathering in celebration of that day
When the Lord was with us in so many ways
A celebration of the day, when
All of heaven looked our way,
When Glory of the highest degree
Clothed himself with humanity
When the King stepped off his throne
As a helpless child, naked, and unknown

When he gave the world a chance to tell him of his worth.
A grace no mortal could ever merit
A gift too rich for those who bear it…

This was the weight of what they claimed to praise
A claim to celebrate the advent of the ancient of days
It was here that my dream turned sour
For within the course of an hour
My heart longed for immediate escape
What I saw was beyond what I could take

It pains me to recall the sight
My eyes beheld this Christmas night

There was a giant tree in the middle of the floor
With ornaments and tinsel, a wreath was on the door
I saw poinsettias, holly and mistletoe
And things covered with artificial snow
The family there was laughing and playing
They were eating, drinking and saying
What a grand Christmas this year had brought
They spoke of the food, candy and gifts that they had bought

Then someone mentioned the tradition
That every year, by repetition,
Had become their highest joy and pursuit
As children, youth and adults joined suit
And sat around the giant tree to
Give, but more importantly to see
What gifts would come their way

This was the end of their glorious day

But something was missing from this celebration
There was something empty in their exultation
It was if they hadn’t found the key
Which would bring their singing harmony

Then I realized with considerable pain
That what was missing was his name
I searched under the tree again...
Not a single gift was meant for him
I read the look on every face
But there I could not find a trace
Of the gleam I saw in those shepherd’s eyes
When they beheld their savior’s cries

The shepherds bore no frankincense or myrrh
But when they gave their praise; your heart could not help but stir
For the most satisfying earthly thing
Must be adoration of the King

I sensed the disappointment and stress
That came with giving and getting less than the best
Of what there was to get and give
I thought, Oh how these people live
If I could only let them see
The greatest gift is not under their tree
In their haste to give and get the perfect gift
They had let the guest of honor drift
Into the back of their minds and the bottom of their hearts

I shouted and I screamed
Don’t you know what this day means!
Don’t you know that this day
Marks the birth of him alone who saves
Don’t you realize what he’s done
The path he walked, the war he won?

But now this day seems to have diminished
What it started out to do
He didn’t stop till “it was finished”
Don’t you see what this means for you?
Put away these gifts, think of them no more
Set your thoughts on things above,
The greatest gift is to adore
The one who entered life to die
So we could worship him on high
To give him glory due his name
And bid the world to do the same

Don’t you see? This is the only
Gift that touches eternity!
And when the day is through, the songs all sung
Let the name of Jesus never leave your tongue…
This is the only gift to give
This is the only way to live

You might think your holiday of fluff light and fun
But Christmas day is all about the Son…

And as I begged them at their feet
Someone shouted “it’s time to eat”
It was then that I began to cry
I felt as if something had died

The pearl was trampled, the glory missed
The Name of the Lord not on anyone’s list
I longed for them to truly see,
The son who brought such joy to me…

But hearts were hard and blood was cold
I couldn’t believe this could ever unfold
The way it did before my eyes
Surely these thoughts were born of lies

I hope I never live to see

This nightmare become reality

O Joseph, tell me again it will be okay
And there will never come a day
When Christians trade the highest glory
For some other meaning to his story
Let’s thank the Lord that this will never be
And pray he take this nightmare away from me

But still,
I’ve found that things aren’t always what they seem

Thank God this was but a dream

Yes, it must have only been a dream…

Christmas Poem
December 24, 2007


Popular Posts

Why did Jesus have to heal the Blind Man Twice in Mark 8?

In Mark 8:22-26, Jesus encounters a blind man in Bethsaida. To heal the man, Je…

Complete List of Luther’s Works, American Edition

Recently, I was attempting to find a certain volume of Luther's works in En…

Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Historical Theology w/ Madison Grace

In this episode, I talk with my friend Dr. Madison Grace about Dietrich Bonhoef…