'Twas the Night Before Christmas . . .

                                                    . . . and all across the land
      everyone was bustling. It was as noisy as a brass band.
It was hard to deal with the hustle and bustle of the last minute shopping crowd.
      I never heard a commotion that was so loud.
I just wanted to finish this last minute Christmas shopping affair
      and say goodbye to the crowd and get far away from there.
If I had just shopped early like I say I will do each year,
      I would not have to face the dreaded 'find-the-right-gift-on-time' fear.

Then I stop and think of my children's smiles and their rosy cheeks,
      and all of the gifts they forget about in two weeks.
I shook off this thought as I completed my job.
      Then I pushed my way out of this crazy mob.
I raced through the streets on the way to my home.
      I knew I only had one hour alone.
I had no time to get all my present wrapping done,
      knowing my family was at church having Christmas Eve fun.

As I pulled in my driveway I saw a strange sight,
      there was an old man on the corner crying under the light.
I knew I had little time, but I was drawn over his way.
      I noticed he looked cold and wasn't sure what to say.
I asked, "Are you okay? You look all alone."
      He replied with a nod, "I was just on my way home."
I then took off my coat and covered him up.
      I saw that he definitely needed to warm up.

I then asked, "Why not come in for some cocoa or tea?"
      I couldn't believe these words were coming out of me.
We went into the house and not a word was spoken.
      Not 'til after we warmed up was the silence broken.
I finally spoke up, "I didn't mean to spy,
      I mean I couldn't help notice you cry."
He said with a start, "This is always a bad time of the year,"
      then he looked at me as he shed a single tear.

I said, "It's just Christmas stress filling the air."
      He replied, "I hate to see all the people who don't care."
He apologized, "I'm sorry you don't need to hear all my woes."
      I happily said, "It's okay, my time is all yours."
He looked at me with a humble little smile,
      and then he stated, "I haven't spoken with someone like you in a while."
He sat in his chair and stared in his cup for a bit.
      During this long silence I could do nothing but sit.

Finally he looked up and then into my eyes,
      and then he finally spoke to my utter surprise.
"My Son died, it was so brutal and gory.
      He died for our freedom, our faith and our glory.
I sent him to battle, I knew it was right.
      I also knew that he would put up a great fight."
I replied, "I'm sorry for your loss on this of all days.
      For you and your family's loss I will pray."

'Pray for his loss'? That didn't sound like me.
      I mean, I haven't been to church in a month, maybe three.
"No," he started, "I promise my son is not lost.
      I could never part with him at any cost."
I looked confused and stated, "I'm sorry, I don't understand?"
      He replied, "It was a long time ago my son walked this land.
You see, I sent my son to walk among man.
      He came to spread my word and take them by hand.

"He came down to teach them of me and my love.
      He walked the whole time with my helping hand from above.
I sent him to live here, then after 33 years had come and gone,
      I sent him to die so you all would not be alone.
He fought the great battle between truth and a lie.
      That is why this time of year is hard and I cry.
I do not cry for myself or my son's battle scars.
      I cry for those who are still lost and cannot see the stars.

"I cry for the broken who haven't found me.
      I cry for the blinded, the truth they can't see.
All the hustle and bustle this time of year is not right.
      This should always be a quiet and peaceful night.
This son of mine was given as my true gift,
      in hope that mankind and the world's spirits would lift."
I started to speak, but the words caught in my throat.
      I just stood in awe at this man whom I offered my coat.

I said, "My Lord, uh, God, uh, I am not sure what to say,
      but I assure you not all ignore this great day.
My wife and daughters are right now out singing,
      and I know your work they are spreading and the joy they are bringing."
He asked, "Why are you not out with them spreading this joy?"
      I said, "I was caught in the idea I had to buy the right toy.
I have been caught in the same day to day feeling,
      that most of us have that keeps our heads reeling."

"Well, let me tell you my son," he said with a grin,
      "you have brought me great joy by inviting me in.
You have shown me the truth is out among you all.
      You may feel distant but your heart is not small.
I must be on my way and leave you be.
      You have enough to do without being held up by me.
Talking with you I have hope once more,"
      he said as he simply walked out my door.

I stood for a moment and just stared into space.
      If only my wife could see the look on my face.
All of a sudden a noise I heard out in the street.
      My wife was home. I wish the old man she could meet.
She walked up the walkway with our girls in tow.
      I went and hugged her and did not want to let her go.
She looked stunned and said, "Are you okay?"
      I replied, "I've never felt better as I do today.

"I just love you all so much. Oh, and hun,
      I want you to know God has blessed this whole family each and every one."

Happy Holidays,

[Written by Darren; edited, formatted and posted by RK on 12/24/07]