The Night Before The Night Before Christmas

Some Christians get a little snippy over what Christmas really means. “It’s the birth of Jesus and nothing else!” Is what I hear some insist (though not so bluntly).

I celebrate Jesus, and I love to celebrate Jesus, but he’s honestly not the first thing that comes to mind when I enter “Holiday Mode.” The first thing I think of, especially now that I’m grown up, is family.

My family has always been close. And since we’ve not all lived together for the past couple of years, I’ve privately dubbed Christmas as “Brother Comes Home Day.” That’s often what I’m the most excited about. I’m sure whenever I move out it will become “Going Home to Family Day,” and maybe when I’m married with my own kids it will be “Everybody Off Work and Getting to Spend Time Together Day.”

I don’t think Jesus minds. He knows family is important to me. He purposely designed me that way. Who says Christmas can’t be about celebrating whatever God puts on my heart to celebrate? I’ll celebrate Jesus, but I’ll also celebrate my family. If I want to hang stockings and decorate a tree (neither having anything to do with Jesus), who cares? It’s something that makes this time of year distinctive, it brings my family together, and it makes us happy.

The point of what I’m saying here is the poem that now follows. I wrote it Christmas Eve night, just before we all went to bed. We had just finished a wonderful gathering of my nuclear family, my two cousins, and a friend who couldn’t go home for the holidays. It was one of the best nights this season and I was feeling grateful for everything, and everyone God has given me. Thus came this little rhyme.

It’s not about the “true” meaning of Christmas (whatever that is), but one meaning of Christmas. My meaning of Christmas.

I hope you enjoy. :)


The Night Before the Night Before Christmas

Twas two nights before Christmas
And little John Keeping
Was stirring in bed
Though supposed to be sleeping.

John’s father was rich
And traveled a lot.
He had to fly out,
Christmas or not.

The Keeping family
Decided together,
To celebrate early
Would make everything better.

But John was afraid
As he turned in his bed
Santa would forget
To come early instead.

So Johnny got up
And looked for his cap.
He’d seen the man at the mall,
He’d sat on his lap!

Perhaps if he found
The big man tonight
He could solve his problem
And be back before light.

So Johnny sneaked past
His parents with care-
Checked the roof, just in case,
But no one was there.

Little John pedaled
His bike down the street.
Nobody was out,
The whole town was asleep.

The boy finally made it
To the shopping mall.
But the place was closed down.
There were no cars at all.

He tried all the doors,
Completely no luck,
Looked in vain for a sleigh,
Then Johnny gave up.

He turned to go home
And started to weep.
Which was the way?
He’d forgotten the street!

Then a man with a bag
Found him there sobbing.
He stopped in the street,
And set down his shopping.

The man touched his shoulder
And asked, “Who are you?”
“I’m Johnny,” he said,
“I’m from house 102.”

“Why are you out?
And where are your folks?
And why are you dressed
In a cap and a robe?”

“I was looking for Santa,”
The little boy cried.
“I thought he’d be here
But there’s no one inside!”

The man dropped to a knee
And held out his arms.
John shed his tears
‘Till they were all gone.

“Now tell me the matter.
Maybe I can help.
Though I keep it a secret,
I know Santa himself!”

“My daddy is flying
Out on Christmas day.
If Santa comes then,
He’ll be here too late!

“There will be no gifts,
No boxes or strings.
There will be no fun
To be had come morning.

“I needed Santa,
To ask him to visit.
Bring Christmas tomorrow,
So daddy won’t miss it.

“But I don’t care now,”
The little boy moaned,
“Christmas is nothing
If I’m all alone.

“I miss my parents,
My dad and my mom.
I don’t want the gifts,
I just want to go home.”

The kind man then smiled
And tussled John’s hair.
“So, where do you live?
I’ll take you there.”

On the drive home
The older man said,
“I’ll be sure Santa comes
After you go to bed.”

So Johnny went home
And hugged worried parents.
Then he tucked into bed
Thinking nothing of presents.

When he woke the next morning,
What did he see?
Dozens of gifts
Tucked under the tree!

Unwrapping a smile,
John didn’t care.
Christmas, to him,
Was having family there.

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  • David Endsley

    Awesome job.