A CHRISTMAS POEM
In the days of Herod, the King of Judea
Was a priest, Zechariah, a son of Abijah,
And his wife, Elizabeth, a daughter of Aaron,
Who had no children, because she was barren.
Zechariah was serving as priest before God,
Chosen by lot, according to the Priesthood.
He was to burn incense in the temple of the Lord
While outside praying, worshipers stood.
An angel appeared at the side of the altar.
When he saw him he was fearful and he was startled.
“Your prayer has been heard; you will have a son
And you are to give him the name of John.
Many will rejoice because of his birth.
In the sight of the Lord he will have a great worth.
He is never to take fermented drink from the till
From birth, with the Holy Spirit, he will be filled.
He will bring back to the Lord the people of Israel
And go in the Spirit and power of Elijah,
To turn the hearts of the fathers back to their children
And the disobedient to righteousness and Godly wisdom.”
“How can I be sure, I am an old man?
And for all of these years, my wife has been barren.”
“I am Gabriel, I stand before God.
I have been sent to give you this news that is good.”
Now you will be silent, not able to speak,
Until this happens because you didn’t believe.
The people were waiting and wondering why.
But he could not tell them he only made signs.
When his time was completed, he returned home,
His wife became pregnant and remained alone.
Elizabeth said, “God has shown me His favor,
Taken away my disgrace from among the people.”
Gabriel then went to Nazareth, in Galilee,
To Joseph’s fiancée, the Virgin Mary.
“Greetings, you who are highly favored.”
The angel said, “With you is the Lord.”
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered
“Don’t be afraid, You’ve found favor with God.
You will be with child and give birth to a Son.
The name of Jesus, you will bestow upon Him.
The Son of the Most High, he will be great
And God will give him the throne of David.
Forever He will reign over the house of Jacob
And there will never be an end to his kingdom.”
“Since I am a Virgin, how can this be?”
“The Holy Spirit and Power will overshadow thee.
Called the Son of God will be the Holy One,
Ad Elizabeth, your relative, is in her sixth month.”
Then Mary said, “Nothing is impossible with God.
I am the Lord’s servant, may it be as you said.”
Mary hurried to Elizabeth’s town;
At Mary’s greeting, the babe leaped in her womb.
With the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth was filled
“Blessed are you among women,” she said.
“And blessed is the child that you will bear,
But why am I favored, that you should come here?
As soon as your greeting reached my ears with sound,
For joy, the babe in my womb leaped around.
Blessed is she who has believed
That what the Lord said, will be accomplished.”
And Mary said, “My spirit glorifies the Lord.
My spirit rejoices in my Savior and God.
He has been mindful of the state of his servant
From now on all generations will call me blessed.
The Mighty One has done great things for me
His mercy extends, his name is Holy.
From generation He’s performed mighty deeds with His arm
And scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
From their thrones He has brought down the rulers of men,
Lifted up the humble and the hungry, He filled them
With good things, but sent the rich away empty.
He helped His servant Israel to remember mercy.
Elizabeth received a son when she had her baby.
Her neighbors shared her joy and the Lord’s great mercy.
“Zechariah is a great name for a son.”
“No,” his Mom said, “His name is to be John.”
“There’s none of your relatives who have that name.”
They asked Zechariah, but he wrote the same.
Writing, “His name is John,” loosened his tongue
Immediately his mouth opened, he began praising God.
The neighbors throughout the country of Judea
Talked about the miraculous son of Zechariah.
Everyone who heard this wondered, asking,
“God’s hand is with him, what’s this child going to be?”
Zechariah was filled with the Spirit and prophecy
“Praise God He has come and His people redeemed.
For He has raised up a horn of salvation
In the house of His servant, the King David.
As he said long ago through holy prophets of His
Salvation from our enemies and those who hate us.
To show mercy and remember His holy covenant
The oath that he swore to our Father Abraham.
From the hand of our enemies to rescue us,
And to serve Him without fear to enable us,
In holiness and righteousness before Him all our days,
My child, go before Him to prepare the way.
To give His people salvation – sins are forgiven.
Tender mercy of God comes to us from heaven,
To shine on those living in the shadow of death,
Out of darkness to guide us to a peaceful path.”
“A census should be taken,” decreed Caesar
And everyone went to his own town to register.
So Joseph went to Bethlehem – A town of David
To register with Mary who was expecting a child.
While there she gave birth to her Firstborn, a son,
Placed him in a manger – there was no room in the inn.
Shepherds nearby, watching their flocks by night
Were terrified by angels in glorious light.
“Don’t be afraid, I bring news of great joy
To you a Savior has been born – it’s a boy!
Christ the Lord has come and this will be a sign,
Wrapped in cloths, in a manger, a baby you’ll find.”
The angels sang, “Glory to God in the highest
On earth peace to men whom His favor rests.”
When the angels had left and gone back to heaven,
The shepherds decided to go to Bethlehem.
Mary, Joseph and the baby in the manger was found.
After seeing, what had been told them, they spread it around.
All who heard were amazed what was said by the shepherds
Mary treasured these things and in her heart pondered.
The shepherds glorified God for the things they had seen.
He was given his name before he was conceived.
Next stop, Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord
And to offer a sacrifice in keeping God’s word.
A righteous and devout man called Simeon
Was waiting for consolation, the Holy Spirit upon him.
He would live to see Christ – it had been revealed.
He was there when the parents did what was required.
Simeon took Him in his arms and praised God.
“Dismiss your servant as promised Sovereign Lord,
For my eyes have seen your salvation
In the sight of all poeple, your preparation.
A light to the Gentiles for Revelation
And to your people Israel – glorification.”
His parents marveled as Simeon blessed them
And when he shared all that was destined.
“The rising of many in Israel and the fall
To be a sign that will be spoken against by all.
So the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed
And your own soul, too, a sword will be pierced.”
Ann, the prophetess, a daughter of Phanuel
Never left the temple for she was a widow
But worshiped night and day, fasting and praying
For the redemption of Jerusalem to all who were looking.
The virgin will be with child – the prophecy fulfilled.
She’ll give birth to a Son they’ll call Immanuel.
It’s a name which meant – God is with us.
So Joseph gave him the name of Jesus.
Jesus was born during the time of Herod, the king
When Magi from the east came to Jerusalem.
“Who has been born King of the Jews? Where is He?
We have come to worship following his star in the east.”
King Herod was disturbed, all Jerusalem with him,
“Where is he to be born?” the teachers, he asked them.
“In Bethlehem for this is what the prophet has written,
Out of you a Ruler over all rulers will be sittin’.”
Herod secretly found out when the star had appeared
He sent the Magi to Bethlehem to look for the child.
“As soon as you find him, report back to me.
So that I, too, may go and worship and see.”
After they had heard the king, they went on their way,
Followed the star to the place where it stopped and it stayed.
When they saw the star they were all filled with joy
To see Joseph and Mary and her little boy.
They bowed down and worshiped and opened their gifts,
Presented him treasured gold, myrrh and frankincense.
In dreaming, were warned not to go back to Herod.
They returned to their country by another road.
An angel to Joseph, in a dream appeared.
“Get up, take the child, and escape from Herod.
Go to Egypt, and until I tell you, stay there,
For Herod will search for the child to kill.
He took the child and his mother during the night.
To the safety of Egypt, was their perilous flight.
They stayed until Herod’s life was over and done.
The prophet said, “Out of Egypt, have I called my Son.”
Herod realized he’d been outwitted, he was furious and blue.
He gave orders to kill the Bethlehem boys under two.
Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled,
“Rachel’s weeping and mourning could not be stilled.”
In a dream, to Joseph, appeared an angel,
“Take the child and his mother to the land of Israel,
For those who were trying to take the child’s life are now dead.
Archelous is reigning in Judea in his father’s stead.
Stay away from Judea for the sake of safety.”
They went to Nazareth, the district of Galilee.
What was said through the prophets was clearly now seen,
Jesus would be called – a Nazarene.
Pamela L. Fishel
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