Twas the night before Christmas
And I had just closed my country store.
Turned the locks, shaded the windows
When there was a frantic knock on the door.
The sales were quite over. Merchandise was quite done.
I had had quite enough of Christmas.
Nothing left to sell ya, not a toy. Not a one.
I was quite tempted,
To shout “No Room At The Inn”
But remembered my Sunday School Teacher
She’d say “ Naughty, Naughty Sin”
It was a Papa, a Mama, and a few little ones
How could I pass?
Seeing chubby cheek chilled faces
Pressed against that last pane of glass.
The snow and wind came in behind them,
A huge chill filled the air
Yet there was a warm glow all about them
Oh so happy I was there.
“Patch of Ice You Say, Car in a ditch, Everything Tossed”
“Big Boom” the children said excitedly
Mama chimed “cold and lost”
On the phone was Papa
“ We can’t wait, no place to stay.”
“Sorry Buddy” the tow driver retorted
“Don’t you know it’s a Holiday”
Everything then in me
Wanted to hide under my bed and weep.
For surely in house full of strangers
This old shop keeper would get no sleep.
So I rekindled the fire,
Boiled milk for a cup of cocoa or two
Exclaimed not much food left in here
But all I have is open to you.
The Kids Got All Excited,
and Raced to the Tree
At the prospect of candy canes still hanging
And suddenly free.
Mama was ingenious,
what she did with that spam.
Totally convinced me and the Papa
Of the miracle of canned ham.
As I pulled blankets, and soft pallets
And strew them about the floor
I realized though I had made a killing this Christmas,
It was they that truly had more.
They played games, they told stories
They laughed about with glee.
They had a joy about them
That had long ago escaped me.
My head and heart couldn’t take it
I yelled for them to stop
How could they be so crazy happy
When their holiday was such a flop?
No real food, amiss from presents,
and sleeping on the floor.
Stuck in ditch and with a grumpy stranger
In an empty Christmas store.
When just then ,
a little hand tugged
at the hem of my dress
Said “ Hey Lady ,
in Jesus there are no strangers
and this aint such a mess.
See we headed to grandpa’s fancy house
Up on a really big hill
Though we were scared when the car went boom
Daddy said , “let’s find God’s good will.”
We came through the cold and snow
When God led us to your door.
And now you have shared all that you had
So I just know God will bless you more.
As I looked into those little eyes
It was very plain to see.
It was not me helping them that was God’s good will
But it was them helping me.
It’s not about the trimmings, not the money
Or any kind of gift
The true celebration of Christmas
Is seeking His will for who you are with.
As I settled in a rocker that night
Humming my little messenger to sleep.
I wonder if this was how Mary felt
And I knew why she did weep.
Though His gift was wrapped so quietly
In a manager filled with hay
He was destined to be presented triumphantly
On a Hill far away.
So if your Christmas spirit has escaped you
Look around for who you are with.
Seek the will of Him who sent you.
That’s your greatest gift.
Already bought and paid for
Precious blood, highly priced.
He Reached out for a stranger
And Gifted this day in paradise.
Michelle Gillison-Robinson, Christmas 2016