‘Twas the Night Before Christmas: One Shepherd’s Story


Written for the children’s Christmas program entitled “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” for First Christian Church, Fort Smith, AR. 



‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the dark,

Not a light was shining, not even a spark.

Yet, people were hoping for some kind of sign;

That something would happen, that God’s light would shine.


The children were hungry, so afraid and tired.

It was joy. It was peace and love they desired.

Mama was worried, and I was such a mess.

Neither one of us could sleep, nor could we rest.


When out in the fields we both heard a loud sound,

We went outside to take a good look around.

We met friends who were watching our flock by night;

Up in the sky, we saw a heavenly sight!


Angels singing about good news of great joy

For every woman and man, girl and boy.

They sang about God coming down to the earth.

They sang about the promise of a new birth.


All barriers broken, even religion and race—

With unconditional love and unfettered grace!

The love was unearned and the grace was so free,

All we could do was drop down to our knees.


Down on the ground, I pondered the intrusion,

I thought that this might all be an illusion.

‘Twas hard to believe, much harder to behold!

The world was so scary, so dark and so cold.


But it wasn’t a dream! It was all very real!

And the angels had more good news to reveal!

“To you is born in the city of David,

A Savior for whom the whole world has waited!”


“The child will be wrapped from his head to his foot

In bands of cloth. In a manger he’ll be put.

Although he’ll look like an ordinary kid,

The light he’ll give can never ever be hid.”


Without hesitation we knew we must go!

We all went together, the children in tow.

We found God’s gift, just as the angels foretold.

The world no longer seemed dark, nor was it cold.


His eyes—how they twinkled! His dimples—how merry!

His brown skin so pure, his nose like a berry!

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow.

This baby loved me. Somehow, God told me so!


The shepherds, my fam‘ly, they felt the same way!

Could this be the answer to all we had prayed?

He was so precious, so humble and so mild.

We bowed at the manger of this holy child.


He was tiny and meek, but he was no elf.

I cried when I saw him, in spite of myself!

But a wink of his eye, a turn of his head,

Let us all know that we had nothing to dread.


He spoke not a word, but the babe said so much;

Lifting not a finger, our hearts the child touched.

Laying in the straw, he closed his eyes and slept.

We turned toward each other; to our feet we leapt!


We sang, we danced for all that had taken place:

The angels, the baby, the amazing grace!

And to all we exclaimed with all of our might:

“Into the world’s darkness shines forth a great light!”

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