A congregation of the United Church of Canada
Christmas 1 – (With apologies to Clement Moore)
Twas the day after (the day after) Christmas, and in online ‘couch’ churches
Congregations were singing, while wearing new purchas(es).
The folks dreamed of haunting their regular pews,
Awaiting the preacher-guy’s take on Good News.
The children were ‘round as they played with their toys,
While their parents, for once, weren’t concerned with the noise.
And I got myself psyched, and I put on my collar,
Suspecting the ‘views’ would be markedly smaller.
And so, what to preach on, what stories to say?
What message to give on this Christmas Sunday?
What word have they faithfully tuned-in to hear?
What insight will cleverly sum up the year?
I could focus on Joseph, on Mary, on John,
On Shepherds, on Angels, on light from beyond.
On the Wise Men, on Starlight, on Mangers, on Joy,
On the birth of a baby named Jesus, a boy.
But I think that the word that most fully explains,
The whole Christmas season, Advent to today,
Is a pun on the stuff that was under the tree,
And that word is Presence, not “t-s”, “c-e”.
Yes, Presence is what Christmas s’really about,
The Presence of God, beyond and throughout.
And then more awesome still is the truth I’ll now spin,
The Presence of God is most present within!
Their eyes-how they twinkled! Their faces how merry!
Their hearts were aflame, at these words from Rev Larry!
But then Larry told them “That’s only the start,
There’s more to this gift that God placed in your heart.”
“God’s Presence is in you, accept it, or ain’t,
It’s in you because you’re both sinner and saint.
God’s Presence is glowing, God’s Presence is more,
God’s Presence is shining through every last pore.”
“God’s Presence is not just reserved for the holy,
God’s Presence is myst’ry, beyond your control(ly).
God’s Presence is beautiful, awesome, and fine,
God’s Presence is def’nitely tot’ly sublime.”
“But there will be days when despite all this truth,
It’ll feel like God’s absent, abandoning you.
It’ll feel like the darkness will never let go.
It’ll feel like this God has become a no-show.”
“But my message to you, on this post-Christmas day,
Is to never forget this next thing that I say.
For the mystery I want you forever to hear,
Is that Christmas occurs every day of the year!”
“Every morn as you rise from a darkness like death,
And you gather your thoughts at the side of your bed,
Breathe in deeply and slowly and say to your soul,
‘I awake to your Presence, O God, I am whole.’”
“Every morning your being is flooded with light,
Every morning reborn from the darkness of night.
Every morn, incarnation just blows you away,
Every morn, if you will, is a new Christmas Day.”
“Every day you’re renewed with God’s light from within,
Every day’s filled with Presence – go ahead, tear right in.
Rip the wrappings and ribbons right off as you rise,
And rejoice in God’s Presence – it’s just the right size.”
“You see Christmas did not just occur in a stall,
With Mary and Joseph and Jesus et al.
It repeats here and now, every day of the year,
It’s a bottomless cup of the best Christmas cheer!”
“God’s Nativity doesn’t get packed up in boxes,
Like tinsel and garland and big Christmas soxes.
God’s Nativity scene comes alive every morn,
As the Christ child each day in your heart is reborn.”
And the congregants smiled as these words snuggled in,
(be)’side “Surely God, in this place is herein!”
And I heard them exclaim, in a unison way:
“Christmas Presence to all, and to all a God day!”