There have been several requests for this poem, A Gospel Poem For Christmas, written by our pastor Campbell Silman. It is posted here for your enjoyment. If you would like a copy to print, please download this PDF file.
A Gospel Poem for Christmas
A. Campbell Silman
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
in hopes that new toys soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
while visions of presents danced in their heads.
And Mom in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
had just settled down for a long winter’s nap.
When after a long night’s sleep we did rise
we gasped at each other for to our surprise…
The visions of presents we hoped would be there
were nowhere in sight for the whole room was bare.
We all stood around in sheer disbelief,
And with sadness concluded it must be a thief.
But before we even could voice our dismay
An old man walked in who had seen better days.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
The look in his eye and the shake of his head
soon let us know we had something to dread.
After clearing his throat he said with a frown,
“Before hearing this news you might want to sit down.”
So we braced ourselves and expected the worst
When he proceeded to speak this familiar verse…
“I’ve made my list, and checked it twice.
I’ve accurately determined whose naughty and nice.
I see when your sleeping and know when you wake.
I know if you’ve been bad or good and the truth I can no longer fake.
I heard all those mean things you said to your wife,
and Sonny I saw when you stole Daddy’s knife.
Sweetie I know its become all the rage,
but you take too many selfies for someone your age.
And Mrs., I know that your friend’s husband Jim
makes three or four times as much money as him,
but to make him aware of it day after day;
in making my list I decided to say…
To bring you all gifts as if you were nice
would make as much sense as bringing polar bears ice.
But before you get angry and call all your friends
I want you to know I’ll be visiting them.
Tonight as I travel no home will be missed
for everyone’s name is on the same list.
This year as I travel the present I pick
is to tell the whole world they are desperately sick.
The headlines confirm what you all should assume
that each human heart is a whitewashed tomb.
You put on your best at work and at school
but all-seeing eyes aren’t so easily fooled.
Much more powerful eyes than mine
look down at this earth and once did opine…
“Every inclination of the thoughts of mankind
is only evil all of the time.”
So you see I’ve decided this year to come clean,
and to risk being slandered as ugly or mean.
But deep in my heart this risk I must take
for it’s time to be honest, this is no time to fake.
Year after year while smiling and faking
hearts and lives around me are breaking.
And this jolly facade you all know and love
has kept you from hearing good news from above.
I’ve let you believe your good works earn you things
like toys or cars or new diamond rings.
But if this is true its the worst news of all
for in reading the nice list no names would be called!
I know that many today disagree
and when judging the heart its good things they see.
But before you protest or put up a fight
please tell me why you lock doors at night?
I know that you do for at each home I try.
It’s because of locked doors to the chimney I fly.
But why is that you all live in fear?
It’s because of the evil that lives oh so near.
In fact this evil is nearer than you know.
It’s not just in prisons or on HBO.
The evil outside is only a part
for all of this wickedness flows from your heart.
Locking your doors cannot keep away sin
for in turning the key you still lock your self in.
By now you may ask, “What more can we do?”
But don’t be afraid for I bring you Good News.
The God who made earth and all it contains
sees your heart too and knows you by name.
And though what he sees deserves anger and hate
He’s decided, in love, that his anger can wait.
For behold long ago as a baby he came
and witnessed firsthand all our guilt and our shame.
And he knew that whether we liked it or not
like a leopard we were helpless to change just one spot
But in love and not as something he owed
He decided to wash us whiter than snow.
So while he was perfect and sin never knew
He took on our shame and became sin for you
And just as a murderer, liar and thief
He died on a cross, and to much disbelief
He came back to life after only three days
and changed history in the most shocking ways.
Now what happened next is hard to believe
and it totally changed my next Christmas eve.
For in checking my lists the names started to fade
and I realized that God was making a trade.
For there under “Naughty” I saw the name Christ,
and the list started growing below the word “Nice.”
I asked in amazement oh how could this be?
Did the only one nice become naughty for me?
So I checked once again to see where I stood,
but my list of sins had been canceled for good.
And what I saw next almost made me faint
for there by my name I saw the word “Saint”.
Now from that moment on I then understood
it wasn’t because I’d done anything good.
It’s all because Christ has been perfect for me
and when God views my heart its Christ’s goodness he sees.
And this is the good news I want you to hear…
it’s not by your works you get toys every year!
But instead it’s through Christ we can celebrate
for God in his love has rewritten our fate.
And this is the good news that is able to save..
Forgiveness and life – not to those who behave,
But forgiveness and life to all who believe;
who call upon Christ and his gift receive.
And as you have noticed this gift’s changed my tune.
I can no longer sing that ‘be good’ doom and gloom.
Because of Christ’s gift a new gift I bring
and because of God’s love its this song I sing…
My sin, O the bliss of this glorious thought
My sin, not in part but the whole
Is nailed to the cross and I bare it no more
Praise the Lord, it is well with my soul.”
After singing his tune the man disappeared
but the threat of a thief we no longer feared.
For while the living room floor still was bare
contentment and joy and hope filled the air.
I then looked at my wife and gave her a hug
and told her, “I’m sorry I’ve been such a thug.”
And she in return gave apologies too,
and even the kids knew what we should do.
We said sorry to God and upon bended knee
we thanked him for Jesus and in him believed.
We thanked him for driving our sins out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”