I wrote this simple poem three years ago when I was searching for a poem to share at a Christmas service at the hospital.
We say “Merry Christmas” so easily, it has been on my tongue and spoken dozens of times in the past days. But I know all too well that the “Merry” can be a painful word for those who are very sick, for those who are grieving, for those who are lonely, for those who long for connection, for those whose families struggle.
This is the truth of it. We long for the perfect picture, the happy feelings, and want to be on the perfect Christmas card, feeling joyful and peaceful.
Here is the poem, and please feel free to pass it on if it strikes a chord with you. And may your Christmas be gentle, filled with hope, knowing you are loved.
They say “Merry Christmas”
but not all is so bright
somewhere there are soldiers in terrible plight
somewhere there is a child who is hungry and cold
Who doesn’t know Christmas the way it is told.
There are those who are grieving someone who has died
And the empty space in their hearts cannot be denied
Oh they say “Merry Christmas”
but not all are well,
For those who are sick, in body and soul
Christmas can definitely take a great toll.
And yet, if you think to that first Christmas morn
Not all was that merry before Christ was born.
Mary and Joseph a long journey to take
A baby was coming, much was at stake
No room to be found, no comforts of home
The Christ child was born in the midst of a barn
The mystery of Christmas, that God would be man
Could Mary and Joseph really understand?
We look back to that Christmas with awe and with wonder
And like Mary, we stop and we ponder
Perhaps the true Christmas begins in the heart
Not always merry, but where hope finds its start
There is hope in the Christ child,
And faith, peace and love
May the true spirit of Christmas
Touch us from above.
written December 24 2011
These beautiful snow-covered branches greeted me near the hospital parking lot as I went to work this week. God’s gift – a beautiful Christmas greeting for all who walked by that morning.