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Tag Archives: Christmas story

An early Christmas present (Hurry to Bethlehem!)

Last November I wrote a children’s Christmas poem just for fun. It was a countdown poem, starting with ten multitudes of angels, dwindling down to the one baby in the manger. I shared it with my writing friend Laurel, who liked it.

Fast forward to this fall, when Laurel took a job at our church in the children’s department. One of her responsibilities was to help plan the Christmas concert. She asked whether she could use that poem I’d written. Of course I gave permission, we made some changes, and I gave her carte blanche to use it as she liked.

A few weeks ago when I was setting up for a women’s class with the help of our pastor in charge of the technical stuff, he said as an aside, “Your book turned out really well.”

“My book?! I never wrote a book.”

“But didn’t you write the poem?”

Then it dawned on me. Laurel & company must have developed my little poem into a book.

Indeed, that is what happened.

So this Christmas, the little book I never knew I’d written has been distributed to hundreds of kids (the Sunday School children were given copies to help them memorize it for the concert) and on Sunday it will part of the show. That’s a pretty fine early Christmas present, I’d say!

I photographed it to show you…

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Front and back cover of Hurry to Bethlehem

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A multitude of angels
brightening the sky.
“Do not fear,” their leader says.
“I will tell you why.

“To you shepherds I bring news
of the greatest joy.
In Bethlehem is born this night
Messiah baby boy!

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Leave your sheep behind you here
travel to the town.
You’ll find Him in a manger
dressed in a swaddling gown.”

They hurry into Bethlehem
as fast as they are able.
On many streets they search and search
seeking the right stable.

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In barns they visit one by one
are donkeys, cows, and sheep
but then they hear a baby dry.
“Not all the town’s asleep!”

They race at once toward that barn
knock on the flimsy door.
“Come in,” a voice from inside says,
“What do you come here for?”

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The door swings wide, they come inside
watched by four pairs of eyes—
a cow, a donkey, man and wife
who can’t hide their surprise.

The light is dim inside the barn
shepherds can hardly see
but then, by the low lantern light
they make out there are three.

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Father stands beside the two
guarding them from danger.
Mother rocks the crying babe
then puts Him in the manger.

Here is the One in swaddling clothes
just like the angel said
in a straw-filled cattle trough
for His newborn bed.

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Then countless times they tell the tale
by their excitement driven,
“This night our simple eyes have seen
Christ the Saviour given!
Glory, glory to our God
in the highest heaven.”

© 2017 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

You might want to check out my friend Laurel’s Toward Christmas blog, where she posts a poem a day throughout Advent (following the stories of people in Jesus’ lineage—sometimes called the “Jesse Tree”)

And now I wish you and yours every blessing of the season!

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poetryfridayThis post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Diane Mayr at Random Noodling.

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Posted by on December 14, 2017 in Christmas, Religious

 

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“Hush, now listen…”

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“Hush, now listen, that’s the sound…”

I love old Christmas songs. I love new ones too, especially ones that are written by poet / musicians like Carolyn Arends.

arends-500A year ago Arends brought out a new Christmas album, Christmas: The Story of Stories. I enjoyed it then and continue to give it lots of play time this year. On it Arends sings a few old songs, but the majority are tunes that she’s written—her own take on the Christmas characters and stories.

Her style is folk/roots. Her voice is clear and pure. Her arrangements include accompaniment by piano, guitar, fiddle, mandolin and bouzouki. But it’s the clever, thoughtful, fresh, lyrical revisiting of the Christmas story that ties up the package for me.

On Wednesday she posted one of the songs from it on YouTube.  “The Sound”  begins:

Now the angels’ song has trailed away
And only earthly sounds remain
Oh, a baahing sheep, a bleating goat
And a nervous shepherd clears his throat.
And a husband asks, “Are you alright?”
As a weary mother lullabyes
And through it all … a baby cries …
Hush now, listen, that’s the sound
Of the Kingdom coming …

Listen to it (complete with all the lyrics) below:

In the week between now and Christmas day, I wish all who read here many “hush” moments as you enjoy the beauty of the season and contemplate its meaning.

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Poetry Friday LogoThis post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Diane Mayr at Random Noodling.

 

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this is a poem 2

this is a poem about the last page
a poem about feeling panicked
a poem about lists
this is a poem about shopping and tired feet
about choosing the right card
then signing your name 47 times
a poem about wrapping paper, tape and ribbon
this is a poem about putting up lights and garland
bells and wreaths, while playing old records
a poem about finding mom’s recipe
and buying butter – for baking!
this is a poem about feasting
this is a poem about getting around
to reading the familiar story and wondering
how did something
that started out so simple
get to be so complicated?
this is a poem about Christmas

this is a poem about hearing the songs
of baby Jesus, at the mall
and having the urge to go
and sing them to all your neighbors
this is a poem about the magic
of blinking lights, toy trains
and sipping a cup of warm cocoa
while you visit the Holy Family
come to your cul-de-sac
this is a poem of when home
is the only place to be
even if the tree is small, the gifts few
and your house is crowded as a Bethlehem street
this is a poem about candlelight and sweet carols
in a place where simple gowns and sequin crowns
transform even urchins and scamps
into shepherds, angels and wise men
this too is a poem about Christmas

© 2009 by Violet Nesdoly

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This poem was first published (first stanza only, called ‘this is a poem’) in an anthology called Celebrating the Season 2001 – Essence Publishing, 2001. When I submitted it to another Christmas collection, the editor said it was too negative and suggested I write a second stanza, highlighting a more positive aspect of Christmas. That wasn’t hard to do – and so we have ‘this is a poem 2,’ published in its expanded form here for the first time (or at least I haven’t heard that it ever made it into that second anthology – or even whether that anthology was ever published).
 
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Posted by on December 1, 2009 in Christmas, Personal, Religious

 

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