Saturday, December 6, 2014

'Twas the Night...Re-Write!

I had the privilege of writing this short work for our church's annual Christmas women's brunch dramatic presentation.  I hope it ministers to you in some small way.

‘Twas the night before Christmas… 
You remember the rhyme
The classic old poem 
That’s told ‘round this time. 

A quaint little story,
All merry and bright,
Of reindeer and sugar plums
A magical night.

It sounds nice in theory,
But gals, let’s be real.
For many, the holidays
are less than ideal.

A reminder of love
lost, broken, not found,
A season of stress,
When to-do lists abound.

So let's look at a few
Christmas Eves in real life,
At four different women
Each with her own strife.

The widow, the mothers,
Busy and tired,
And the wife who went looking
For the love she desired.

A new spin on the classic old poem
'Twas the night,
With a little more grit,
A real life re-write. 


‘Twas the night before Christmas 
And all through her house,
Not a creature was stirring,
Not even a mouse.

Her husband had passed,
Her children were grown.
‘Twas her first Christmas Eve
All on her own.

No one beside her
This cold winter’s night
No one beside her
Whose hand to hold tight.

No singing or laughter,
No kisses or hugs,
No cookies for Santa,
No cocoa in mugs.

She was feeling alone,
And her future seemed bleak.
There, in the quiet,
Tears rolled down her cheek.

Her whole life had changed 
In the blink of an eye.
Things that once brought her joy,
Now made her cry.

As she flipped through an album
Of memories so dear,
She wondered if she could
Skip Christmas this year.


The next woman's house
Wasn't nearly as quiet.
Compared to the widow's,
Her home was a riot!

The stockings were hung
By her chimney with care,
Eight gifts for each one—
she had to be fair!

The napkins were folded
To resemble reindeer
But they looked more like dogs.
She’d use Pinterest next year.

The toilets were scrubbed,
The mirrors were streak free,
Plenty of hand towels
And extra TP!

Cherry pie in the oven
With pumpkin on deck,
Gluten-free for Molly, 
Check, check and check!

What once was an evening
Of family and fun,
Was now a to-do list
Of things to get done.

In the pressure to be
The best Mrs. Clause,
She had missed the true meaning
She’d forgotten to pause.

Running around like a chick
with no head,
Christmas Eve had become
a checklist instead. 


The third woman's house
Was chock full of strife
The tension? Well, it could
Be cut with a knife.

Her children were tucked
away in their beds,
With visions of happier times
in their heads.

Upstairs their parents
Were in the midst of a fight.
It had lasted for weeks,
no forgiveness in sight.

He had grown distant,
And just wanted to be
Left alone with his beer,
his remote and TV.

She felt unloved,
Nothing more than his cook
And confided all this
To a friend on Facebook.

What started as chat
Took a turn for the worst,
And now she was wishing
She had thought this through first.

She stopped it before
It became too much more,
But when her husband found out,
He was rocked to his core.

Oh, how she wished she could
Relive her past;
Instead, this Christmas Eve
Could well be their last.


The last woman we find
in a zombie-like state,
A mother of babies,
Some of you may relate.

From her monitor app,
There arose such a clatter,
So she shuffled down the hall
To see what was the matter.

She went to the nursery
And turned on the light.
This was the fourth time she’d
Been up that night.

Her newborn was hungry,
Needing to be fed,
And her toddler was cutting
Those molars moms dread.

She was exhausted.
She'd had no sleep for days,
Determined, she fought
Through the fog-like “mom haze.”

It’d been days since she showered
Or combed her snarled hair,
But once more she sat
In that old rocking chair,

Rocking her babies
with bags under her eyes,
Doing her best
To tend to their cries.

Oh, how would she ever
Survive Christmas Day?
Desperate, she bowed
And started to pray.


When what to her tired,
weary heart should appear?
But God saying,
“Dear One, Immanuel is here!”

“For just as you sit here,
Rocking your child,
Mary, too, held her baby,
Completely beguiled

By her savior,
The one who was sent to deliver
Her people from death,
The eternal life giver.

And one day he’d die
So that you would be blessed
With more than just sleep,
For in him, you find rest

And the strength to respond
To that late midnight cry
Because you’re never alone, child,
Your savior is nigh.

No, your hair isn’t washed,
And there’s gook on your shirt,
But he’s cleansed you from sin,
On your heart, there’s no dirt.

You’ve been clothed in fine robes
Of righteousness, pure.
And you’re safe in the arms
Of your savior, secure.”


The wife who had sinned
Could not fall asleep.
By her guilt overcome,
She started to weep,

So she turned on her lamp
And started to read.
On Luke chapter two,
Her soul started to feed.

“While there, the time came
for her to give birth,
And of all of the places
O’er all of the earth,

He was laid in a manger
No room in the inn.”
What a way for his life
In this world to begin!

Humbly, he came
to this earth so that she
from the bondage of sin
and death could be free.

Repentant, she sought his
Merciful face.
In Him was redemption
Forgiveness, and grace. 

Yes, He tore the curtain
He tore it in half!
Now he stands at the throne
On her behalf!

She still didn't know
If her marriage would last
But she had hope in the Lord,
So she'd keep holding fast.


Waiting for cherry
And pumpkin to bake,
The busy mom sat
And took a quick break.

She pulled out her iPad
And scrolled through her feed,
When a post caught her eye
And she started to read.

It spoke about Jesus,
The great Prince of Peace,
How his peace would not end,
Nor his reign ever cease.
Amidst all the chaos,
She’d sadly forgotten
That the reason for Christmas
Was God’s son begotten,

Who was sent to bring peace
Through what he would do
On the cross,
And this peace
Was eternal and true.

No longer at war
With God, holy and just,
She belonged to the Prince,
In Him did she trust,

Not just for a break
From the tasks of the day,
But for real peace with God,
His wrath now at bay.


And finally back
To the widow alone,
Who noticed a voicemail
Pop up on her phone.

“Hi mom,” it began,
“I wish I was there
To share in this night,
But instead here’s my prayer,

‘You once sang a song
Of a mother and child,
A sweet holy infant
So tender and mild.

You sang of Christ Jesus
Our Savior and King,
‘Immanuel’s here!’
Together we’d sing.

You and dad raised us
To love our dear Lord.
In our home, He was cherished,
Praised and adored.

He lost loved ones and friends,
By his own, he was scorned,
And, he too, knew the pain
That comes with death mourned.

But He died so that you, mom,
Would n’er be alone,
Not a day will go by
When you’ll be on your own.

So tonight, mom, I pray
You’ll remember his face,
Familiar and faithful
And beaming with grace.’”


What about you?
Are you dreading this night?
Oh, friends, there IS hope,
Both merry and bright!

Christ gives rest for the weary,
And for those stretched too thin,
There’s peace, and there’s grace
For those heavy with sin.

The downcast He comforts,
In Him, there’s new life
For the widow, the mother,
The daughter, the wife!

His eyes—how they twinkle 
with goodness and glory,
And the scars on his hands and his feet
Tell a story

Of his infinite love
for you and for me,
Far better than presents
Under the tree.

In the classic, St. Nick
Wishes all a good night,
But today, let’s praise Christ,
Our hope, born on that night!

 © 2014 Chelsea K. Stanley