This installment of Revisited is my first ever piece of published writing. My poem, “What is Christmas?” appeared in our local weekly newspaper, The Faith Independent, on December 6, 1978. I was 13 years old and had written the poem in my bedroom at home one afternoon. It wasn’t an assignment. It just came out. When I showed it to my teacher at school the next day, she asked to submit it to the local paper. Just over a week after it was published, I received a Christmas card from someone I didn’t know in Colorado. The card contained a hand-written letter which started with, “You probably have never received a “fan letter.” In all my 68 years I have never written one!” It also included the line, “Please keep on writing.” I am forever grateful to my teacher, Mrs. Janet Fernau and my fan, Mrs. Dot McCord.
What is Christmas?
As shoppers are pushing and shoving around
Do they really hear that beautiful sound
Of choirs of angels singing out loud,
Trying to tell that rushing crowd
That there’s more to Christmas than giving and getting.
You have to remember the very first setting
When Mary could find no bed or a table
So she had to settle for a livestock stable.
And there was born a sweet little child,
He looked so warm and gentle and mild.
This was a child from God above
Who was sent to our land to bring kindness and love,
So all you people running store to store
Please stop and take time to really adore
The first meaning of this glorious day;
When God sent His son to show us the way
Through life and death on this plush green earth,
Which was all started from His wonderful birth.
*I acknowledge the lack of sound theology. It’s equally likely I didn’t know any better then, or that my 13-year-old self sacrificed theology in service of the rhyme scheme.