On Christmas Eve at the 5:00 service, Canon Jim read the classic, “T’was the Night Before Christmas” by Clement Moore to the children.
But Father Charlie, the newly ordained, didn’t feel that The Good Canon had quite enough mention of the birth of Christ and decided that he better “save Christmas!” He penned the following and read it before Jim preached his actual sermon…Twas Monday at Christ Church and now Christmas eve, and somewhere between Santa and Christ we believe, that presents under pine trees are truly the goal, as the children anticipate all great gifts but coal. And while kids hearts are beating in pews while they sit, The parents well know that church isn’t the hit. For Santa and reindeer have taken to flight, And hope for the morning may overshadow this night. Yet out in the Narthex there arose such a clatter, I walked from my seat to see what was the matter. But alas it was naught but the sounds of good cheer, As Christmas brought more people than usual this year. The lights in the ceiling, and candles down low, Gave the altar at Christ Church a luminous glow. When what to my prayerful eyes should appear, But a line of robed choir who processed from the rear. With a trailing rector, so British and true, I knew this procession knew just what to do. More practiced than most churches than I’d ever seen, Jim’s liturgical prowess was measured and lean. Now Christine and Charlie, now Lorena and Rags, Now John on the organ, and acolytes with flags. From the nave to the altar and all in between, Let the gifts that God gave us, be heard and be seen. But each of us here whether vocation or not, Has come to praise Jesus tonight on this spot. As the body of Christ, as this church in North Hills, We follow our Lord and seek to do what he wills. And then, in a twinkling, I saw Canon Jim rise, And stand at the pulpit with love in his eyes, For the babe who was born in a small bed of straw, Who for two thousand years we have held in great awe. And so on this night we remember each year There is more to the story than eight tiny reindeer. There is more to the story than a man dressed in red, Or to visions of gift lists that dance in our head. We remember the virgin, the wise men and star, We remember the gifts that were carried afar. We sing of the angels who sung out his name, And tell of the shepherds who fearfully came. For unto us and the world, was born such a child, Laying in a manger both meekly and mild. Glory to God in the heavens above, Who would send us his son, the Messiah, through love. And so we have gathered from far and from near, To sing favorite carols and offer good cheer. We light up the candles and brighten our smiles, As the choir and clergy recess down the aisles. The parties have passed, the pageant was great, We shopped and we wrapped, our giving first rate. Now once again at Christ Church, as we sing Silent Night, May we worship the Christ child who brought us his light. And Jim as he springs to his Mini to drive, Hopes the story of Christ in your hearts burns alive. And you may hear his Brit accent as he drives out of sight, Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night! Adapted by Charlie Hamill