Nearly 20 years ago, the idea came to me to write a poem to Jesus for Christmas. It seemed the least I could do for Him, who gave His life for me. Each year, I attempt to offer Him a simple poem, with the hope that it will make Him smile. I suspect it does.
So, here is poem #3, that I wrote way back in December, 2004!
What If I'd Lived Back Then?
(Inspired by the shepherds in Luke 2:8-20)
¹Artificial tree limbs
Scattered ‘round me on the floor;
This monolith of Christmas
Adds triangular décor.
²The wreaths go up tomorrow,
With a string of lights – brand new,
While the hectic pace of shopping
Ramps up a notch or two.
³And cars speed by a-honkin’
Spraying slush from out the rear,
While stores blare Christmas carols,
That no one really hears.
⁴'Til Christmas day is over
and with paper and a pen,
I pause to sit and ponder,
"What if I'd lived back then?"
⁵What if 2,000 years ago
I'd lived in Palestine?
No garland, gifts, or green'ry,
No candle scent of pine.
⁶My job: a simple shepherd man,
My crook: a wooden stem,
I use to lead my sheep to graze
Outside of Bethlehem.
⁷In meadows green and luscious,
I watch sheep throughout the night,
As my fathers did before me,
And, as all my children might.
⁸Another night – stars take their place,
Like countless nights before;
We’ve waited silent cent'ries –
Yet God’s voice is heard no more.
⁹Yet Prophets made a promise
That one day a child be born;
The One who would deliver,
And turn night back into morn.
¹⁰Instead, we face oppression
From the heavy Roman sword;
So where is this Deliverer,
The One David called, “My Lord”? (Ps 110:1)
¹¹Then, the calm was shattered,
As Luke has clearly told,
While laying near my sheep and pals,
The starry sky turned gold.
¹²And a man appeared before me,
If 'man' could be his name,
And spoke such words transcendent,
I have never been the same.
¹³“Be not afraid, I bring good news,
And great will be your joy.
Nearby in lowly Bethlehem
Is born a baby boy.”
¹⁴“Not any boy, nor just a lad,
He is both Christ and Lord.
You’ll find Him in a manger
Near where the hay is stored.”
¹⁵I raced to find this little Lamb
Placed in a feedbox plain;
Just as the angel told me,
In strips of cloth was lain.
¹⁶A babe and yet a Savior,
A King and yet poor-born;
His homeless parents huddled close,
As night turned into morn.
¹⁷"Could this be our Messiah,
Who sleeps so near the ground?"
I mulled the Scriptures long and hard,
And this is what I found:
¹⁸“One day a virgin is with child,
His name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)
And later scorned and crucified
To save His own from hell.
¹⁹The prophet said, “a child would bear
The government of man;
And great will be His reign of peace
For all throughout the land.” (Isaiah 9:6-7)
²⁰The Babe moved north with Mom and Dad
Lived three-and-thirty years.
He spoke and healed the worst despair
And dried up many tears.
²¹The rest seems like a whirlwind,
Recorded by four men.
He died to pay for just demands
And rose to life again.
²²Well, that’s the way I see it
If I’d been a shepherd man,
If I had watched the birth of Christ,
If I had lived back then.
²³But that was then, and this is now –
Can we compare the two?
Back then they longed that He would come,
Today, the same holds true.
²⁴So, despite my Christmas trappings
There's one lesson I have learned.
The King will come a second time,
One day He will return!
Next, Christmas Poem 4: And Jesus Came for Me