Cross of Grace

A community of grace sharing God's love with no strings attached.

Sunday Worship:
8:30am & 10:45am

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)

11pm Christmas Eve – Luke 2:15-20

Pastor Aaron's Christmas Poem

’Twas Christmas program evening
    for my youngest son
my boys’ shoes, coats, and gloves were on–
    A victory hard won

Program started at seven
    That’s what I thought
According to the paper
    from school Kyle brought

As we piled in my car
    at six forty-five
In my pocket I felt
    my phone come alive

The screen flashed a message
    My eyes playing tricks?
Kyle’s teacher wrote me, saying:
    “We started at six…

“Are you all still coming?”
    the message concluded.
“What the heck” I thought, glumly
    I was deluded.

“Yes” I quickly responded
    “We’ll be there ASAP”
I felt so embarrassed
    I wanted to nap.

By the time we arrived there
    the program was over
Kyle asked me, “When do I sing?”
    My heart sank even lower.

His teacher greeted us saying,
    “You forgot I said six?
Yes, the sheet said seven but
    I told you to fix.”

I couldn't remember her
    ever saying that.
But she probably had
    I forget stuff. That’s a fact.

The families waited for us
    for nearly an hour.
Some parents looked at us with
    expressions quite sour.

And so it happened once again
    I was that guy
Who had’t remembered.
    Had I even tried?

My mistake made us miss out
    on a Christmas memory
I was completely bummed out
    for days…at least three

My family forgave me
    but I felt like a dunce
Can’t I do anything right…
    Even just this once?

Add it to the list of things
    that seem to go wrong.
My list of mistakes
    is getting quite long.

Add that to the pile of junk
    with which we’re dealing
Our world is angry, unequal,
    so many need healing.

This Christmas I’ve been haunted
    by feelings of pain
Celebrate Christ’s birth?
    That sounds insane.

How can I be joyful
    in a season like this?
I make so many mistakes
    What else have I missed?

I am imperfect and trite, 
    forgetful, needy;
obtuse, self-absorbed, 
    and don’t forget greedy.

What is the good news
    for people like me?
That God is one of us?
    How can that even be?

I need so much more in a
    divine being to worship.
God must be better than me
    and certainly more hip.

I want to worship a God
    with incredible powers
And yet is as beautiful
    as fields of wildflowers.

But at Christmas we gather
    and remember the day
that God was born among us
    and lain in the hay.

The stench of the animals
    Mary’s screams during birth
The darkness of the night…
    few knew the babe’s worth.

The scene easily overlooked
    by those seeking fame,
power and glory –
    those who play the world’s game.

Mary was a pregnant
    unmarried teenager.
Shunned and insulted
    I’m willing to wager.

She’d said yes to the angel
    but  had much to lose.
“You’re pregnant!?!?” said Joe, adding
    “The baby is whose?”

It is really quite strange
    if you think about it.
The good news of Jesus
    doesn’t seem to fit.

If God’s a king, a ruler,
    omnipotent even.
Why, then, would God be born
    behind an old inn?

To an unwed mother,
    perfect though she be,
It’s still a scandal like what
    you’d find on TV.

And yet on this Christmas
    we gather once more
to admit our shortcomings
    and beg for more…

More peace for this weary world,
    more love to be shared
more forgiveness to take root
    in hearts that are scared.

I guess Christmas is not about
    gifts or perfection
or Santa Claus or cookies
    or other confections.

Christmas means being honest
    about our needs
for grace, truth, and love.
    It’s a time to say please…

Please reveal yourself to us
    again and once more,
In the places least expected
    where none are adored;

Among the poor and forgotten
    the weak and the lame
the outcast, neglected,
    despised and ashamed.

In the times when I feel like
    I can’t do much right
I give thanks and remember
    the story of that night;

When you gave us your son
    in a place unexpected.
He’d grow up only to find
    that he’d be rejected.

When we feel lost and alone
    Again show us grace
The grace that we find when we
    gaze on Jesus’ face

Be it the baby in the manger
    or the man on the cross,
Both remind us of your presence
    when we feel lost.

Once more on this silent night
    forgive us our sins
Remind us that life’s more
    than competing for wins.

It’s a journey long and arduous,
    paved with humble admissions
That we can’t do it alone
    much less make good decisions.

If there’s a moral in this
    I guess it would be
Christmas is only good news
    for people like me
Who need Jesus’ forgiveness
    to be truly free.

All Rights Reserved. Background image by Aaron Stamper. © Cross of Grace Lutheran Church.