A Christmas Poem

A White Christmas | Psalm 51:7
Rev. Dean Davenport

Every year we hear the popular Christmas song “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.” The last stanza goes like this: “I’m dreaming, of a white Christmas with every Christmas card I write. May your days be merry and bright, and may all your Christmases be white.”

There is a another song about snow written by David some 1,000 years before Christmas—Psalm 51:7. This song, this prayer to God, says: “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.”

With these two songs in mind, listen to this poem,

“A White Christmas.”
by Rev. Lawrence L. Eatherton 

It is the time of Christmas, and all over the earth
Christian people celebrate our dear Savior’s birth.
With presents to open and some even tried,
We pause for a moment and set them aside.
And leaving the hustle and bustle and rush,
We sit here, just sit here, enjoying the hush.
Maybe we think of the month that is past,
And wonder about how it went by so fast.
So then we recall all the things we have done,
To judge the ones that were boring or fun,
And count up all of our trips to the mall,
The cookies, the candies, the wrappings, and all.
We wonder, oh, yes, if in all that is here
We’ve left something out of our Christmas this year.

[Use if there is no snow.]
Oh, we still must visit and buy more presents yet,
But still something’s missing, some need that’s unmet.
Ah! It’s obvious, obvious that we don’t have a trace;
It ought to be plain as the nose on our face.
That this Christmas, this year as you already know
Isn’t white because, well, it just didn’t snow!
Now maybe for some that’s all just as well
That we don’t have to shovel up snow for a spell.
But you have to admit that it all looks so right
When we look out the window, and Christmas is white.
[End of “no snow.”]

[Use if there is snow.]
Oh, we still must visit and buy more presents yet,
But we know what’s not missing, a need that’s been met.
For now it is Christmas, and it all looks so right
When we look out the window, and Christmas is white!
[End of “snow.”]

When the dark and the stark and the naked old trees
Glisten and sparkle in the wake of the freeze,
And the muddy old ground, once so barren and low
Becomes such a wonder in its blanket of snow.
And even the stalks of the untrimmed roses
Appear to be snowmen in various poses.
And all that was ugly, unseemly, or trite
Becomes clothed in beauty, all dressed up in white.
But this white picture’s more than Currier and Ives;
This white picture touches more than our eyes.
And God in his wisdom would lead us to know
The message he gives in the white of the snow.
For each stark and dark and naked old tree
Is a description of all that is lacking in me.
And the muddy old ground looking barren and low
Is the stain of my sin and the guilt that I know.
And even the stalks of the untrimmed roses
Stand out as my life in its unholy poses.
And I long for a blanket to cover my sin,
Something to hide the deep stain that’s within.
And I stumble and fumble and search through the night,
But I cannot begin to turn darkness to light.
In my helpless condition, though I strut and I brag,
I’m no closer to white than a filthy old rag.
Oh, I can holler and wail that enough is enough,
And could even try to be hateful and rough.
After all, it’s not my fault. I’m morally lame.
It’s the world! It’s those others! It’s the weather I’ll blame!
But even as I clamor with self-will and with pride,
Looking for excuses behind which to hide,
God’s Law is so perfect, and clear is the sign:
The sin; the transgression, the evil are mine.
And that’s when I sit in the darkness of night,
I pray to God to send forth his light.
“Lord, take all within me that’s rotten and mean,
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I shall be clean.
Where sin’s ugly stain is all I can show
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”
That washing, that cleansing from darkness and strife,
That freedom from bondage, that forgiveness and life,
Was the promise that God through his work would bring,
The promise he gave to each prophet and king:
Salvation would spring forth and put sin to flight,
And Christmas for all men would one day be white.
In so many ways our God spoke of old
And thus through the prophets his message was told.
And through signs and wonders and visions to man
He began to reveal his most wonderful plan.
But did walking with God in the garden in light
Secure man’s salvation and make all things right?
No, Adam and Eve turned away in their pride.
And because of their sin, each one of us died.
And what about Noah, when the flood waters came,
Did life in the ark cleanse the guilt from his name?
No, the sin of the world was not washed in that flood.
Men continued to hate and to shed their warm blood.
Did the rescue from slavery in Egypt by night
Free the world from its bondage to sin and its might?
Did giving the Law on Mount Sinai’s height
Make people sinless and forgiven and right?
Did the Red Sea rescue? Did the wilderness plight?
Was that manna from heaven their holy delight?
Did it happen when God with his own hand
brought them into that Promised Land?
Was it there in the temple, where God chose to dwell?
Did Jerusalem’s walls thwart the powers of hell?
Did the remnant from exile with praises to sing?
Did judges? Did prophets? Did priests? Did kings?
God used all these things only to make it clear,
His promise of ages was still drawing near.
And God in his wisdom, in each sign they could see
Was telling them always, “Hope and trust in me.
And soon when time in its fullness has run,
I will give you that gift of my own precious Son.”
And I see what the prophets had promised for years,
What God’s people longed for with prayers and tears
God brought to pass in the still of the night.
Jesus was born, and Christmas was white!
White because here was God’s holy child.
White because tho’ he was humble and mild,
He would carry our griefs and our sorrows and blame.
He would suffer indignity and insult and shame
And endure each temptation without giving in,
Then give up his life to cleanse us from sin.
White because over sin rank and obscene
He purged me with hyssop, and I became clean.
White because in his shed blood I know,
He washed me in love, I became whiter than snow!
It’s the eve (time) of Christmas and all over the earth,
As Christians we celebrate our dear Savior’s birth.
In spite of the season stuffed full of noise
We remember the reason for all of our joys.
You could cover the world in a blanket of snow,
And still every heart would deep down in it know
That it takes more than snow to turn darkness to light.
Yes, it takes more than snow to make Christmas white.
So where’s the white Christmas that we’re dreaming of?
Why, it’s right in the manger, in God’s gift of love.
No longer is Christmas dark, naked, and old.
No longer will sin leave us barren and cold.
Not the stain of my sin, nor the guilt that you know,
For our Savior has washed us much whiter than snow!
And now through our lives, every day, every hour,
We can know his forgiveness, his strength, and his power.
And then on that day when we see him in light,
We will stand with the multitude clothed in pure white
And give glory forever to God up above
For the gift of a Savior, the power of love.
I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
With Jesus’ birth here on this night.
May your days always in him be bright
And may all your Christmases be white.

Rev. Eatherton lives in Missouri and serves the congregation of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Pilot Knob, Missouri.






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