May your have joy and peace this Christmas!
I seem always to be a day behind--or make that several weeks behind--in blogging these days. That will change. I have many things to report, but for now, I'll just give you my best wishes and share with you my Christmas poem.
THE INNKEEPER'S CHRISTMAS EVE
by Barbara B. Rollins
Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the town
There were bone-weary travelers in quaint Bethlehem.
The stern edict had gone out from Caesar himself,
That each man should return now to pay from his wealth.
To their ancestors' hometown they all must now go
To pay taxes and tribute - all men, high and low.
The descendants of David were gathering here
In the village of Bethlehem; rooms were quite dear.
It was late in the ev'ning by light of the moon
That a man known as Joseph did ask for a room.
"I'm so sorry," I told him, "My inn is so crammed
'Tween the mats and the bedding you can't lay a lamb."
Then he mentioned his wife, said the room was for her,
And he asked me to help him, "I beg of you, sir."
As I told him I'd let all the rooms - even mine -
Then abruptly I started - the barn would do fine.
You'd have thought I had offered a fine, regal house
As he fashioned a place for her bed near the cows.
Then he led her to lay in the haphazard bed
And he bundled his cloak to place under her head.
As I walked down the path to my o'er crowded dwelling
I paused when I fancied a melody swelling.
"Not so," I decided, and quickened my step.
"It's that glow on their faces I cannot forget."
As I stood at the doorway to gather my thoughts
To go into the inn filled with people and cots
Something flashed in the sky then grew bright 'til it shone -
As a brilliant new star lit the animals' home.
As I stood at the doorway, my soul filled with peace,
And I felt such a wonderful rush of relief.
As I turned toward the hill and the manger aglow,
I saw radiance filling the valley below.
There a small band of shepherds stood huddled in fear
As they stared toward the sky and the being up there.
Now I never had seen here on earth or up high
Any angels, but there was one up in the sky
As the glory of God filled the sky with bright light
And it seemed as I looked to be day and not night.
Then he said to the shepherds who quaked with their fear
"Don't be scared. I have great news that you'll want to hear.
For not only to you but to all of the earth
I bring news of great joy in the form of a birth.
For the Christ child you wait for is born here tonight
And he lies in that barn where the star's shining bright.
There his mother has wrapped him in pieces of cloth
And she's laid him to sleep in a cow's eating trough."
In a flash there were hundreds of angels with him
And the heavens were filled with the strains of a hymn:
"Now to God be the glory, on earth be my peace,
And may feelings of malice throughout the world cease."
Just as quick as they'd come all the angels were gone
And the shepherds stood wondering 'til one said, "Come on.
Let's go see what the angels have told us about -
Come along, time's a'wasting." And he started out.
All the others soon followed to where the star shone,
After leaving the sheep in the valley alone.
They all came to my manger and stooped to go in
To the once humble place and the glory within.
And there Joseph was standing by Mary, his wife,
Who was stroking the child that first night of his life.
And the song of the angels again softly rang
As we knelt to the king, he whose birth they proclaimed.
Then I heard the dear mother in voice oh so slight,
"Merry Christmas to all on this most holy night."