Archive for the ‘christmas poems’ Category


John Thomas McFarland died 12/22/1913, at Ma­ple­wood, NJ.  He was ed­u­cat­ed at Simp­son Coll­ege, Io­wa Wes­ley­an Un­i­ver­si­ty, & Bos­ton Un­i­ver­si­ty School of The­ol­o­gy and pastored in IA, IL, RI, NY & KS.  It was while Sec­re­ta­ry of the Board of Sun­day Schools (NYC) however that he came to national attention. It was there he wrote, “Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay” (3rd verse to Away in a Manger) in about an hour from when he started.  Some believe Mar­tin Lu­ther wrote verses 1&2, some reject that but we DO know who wrote verse 3.  Mcfarland was born 1/2/1851 at Mount Ver­non, IN.

Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay Close by me forever, and love me, I pray;

Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care, And fit us for Heaven to live with Thee there.

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Color Christmas red.

For bright young cheeks on Suzie and Fred,

For dogwood seed pods as they shed,

For flying, feathery cardinals bred.

And He who was Bethlehem born

Was also red – bloodily torn.

Christmas was the beginning,

Calvary the sad ending.

Color Christmas red.


Color Christmas white.

For mistletoe berries and their rite,

For snow that fell from the realm of kite,

For icicles’ unique snappy bite.

Whitish was the symbolic dove

That descended then from above,

White the sand on which He walked,

Purer still, the way He talked.

Color Christmas white.


Color Christmas green.

For pointed holly leaves with their sheen,

For blue spruce and white spruce, oh so keen,

For every evergreen ever seen.

The fish and bread Breaker did pass

Fifty by fifty on the grass

While fig found it did not suit

To be full but without fruit.

Color Christmas green.


Color Christmas gold.

For all the shiny tinsel that’s sold,

For candle flame, regardless of mold,

For merchant’s profit in crispy fold.

The old temple He did replace,

A golden prayer-house in disgrace.

King He was; deserved the crown

In spite of religion’s frown.

Color Christmas gold.


Color Christmas dark.

For wintery trees in “formal” bark

For gray-to-brown mountains, unclad, stark

For snow clouds’ own horizontal mark.

Dark was the world before His gift,

The veil did rend! Sin’s night did lift!

Its no longer dark – He came.

Since; things haven’t been the same.

Hark, angels, men hark.   

– eab Dec. ‘85

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Thank God for Redemption’s plan

Which came down this time of year

Giving hope to hopeless man

Caught in trouble and in fear.

– eab, 12/21/06

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Mary, the carpenter’s wife,

Has been delivered of a Man child.

She conceived and then bore,

Heaven’s Seed and remained undefiled.

She gave birth in a peasant “home”

Of linage Royal and old.

Bearing her reproach she thus gave,

Divinity a fine human mold.


He came, He loved, He cried,

He walked by the azure sea side.

He cared, He worked,

He sought those who had never been taught.

He touched, He scattered, He plead.

The Holy Scriptures He read.

He stood, He bore, He died.

The Christ of Christmas, crucified.

– eab, Dec. ’82

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Hark! the herald angels sing,  “Glory to the new born King,   peace on earth, and mercy mild,  God and sinners reconciled!”  

Joyful, all ye nations rise,   join the triumph of the skies;   with th’ angelic host proclaim,  “Christ is born in Bethlehem!”  

Hark! the herald angels sing,  “Glory to the new born King!”

Charles Wesley was born 12/18/1707 at the Epworth Rectory in England.  He was the eighteenth 18th child (born 18th was 18th 🙂 ) of Anglican pastor Samuel.  Charles & his older brother John formed the “Holy Club” (Charles was more responsible than John for Whitfield’s conversion).  The group was derisively dubbed “Methodists” for methodical forms of personal piety.  Charles underwent a spiritual conversion 5/20/1738. Between 1737 and 1742 he & John published six volumes of original hymns.  He penned more than 6,500 hymns. He died 3/29/1788.


His “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today” obviously fits Resurrection morning. His “And Can It Be?” “O for a Thousand Tongues,” “Love Divine All Loves Excelling,” “A Charge to Keep I Have,” and “Jesus, Lover of My Soul,” fit any day. But this time of year we love to sing his, “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.”

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Pick up the loose holly leaves,

Sweep the carpet and then,

Pack the wreath away to stay,

In the Christmas-stuff storage bin.

Untwine the silver ribbons,

From chandelier so thin,

Slow down the pace of this place,

For Christmas is over again.


Chop the tree into firewood,

Place used boxes away.

The train for lad (and Dad),

Crate up for the next special day.

Candles and fancy paper,

In the seat by “the bay,”

Right beside the gowns that hide,

The shepherds in each Christmas play.


Does the Spirit of Christmas

Likewise, find Itself packed

And, with the pear tree, to be

In the far away attic stacked?

Oh – It will be used next year,

No luster will be lacked;

Unless abuse or disuse,

Find It broken or sadly cracked.

May the Spirit of Christmas be left intact.

Leave It, please leave It, unpacked!

The more that you choose It,

And prayerfully use It,

The less likely It is to be cracked.

– eab, 12/14/81

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FAITHFUL TO DUTY (16th card)

If shepherds hadn’t been watching their charge,

As all good shepherds do.

If they hadn’t been dutifully faithful.

In spite of damp and dew.

If men of sheep hadn’t sheep-minded been

The long winter night through,

They’d have missed that chorus grandly suspended,

Announcing centuries of prophecy ended,

In notes and quality, in minors and ranges, so large –

Masterfully blended.


If wise men hadn’t been looking upward,

As wise men want to do.

If ancient scholars hadn’t known the sky

And humbly, knew, they knew.

If star-spangled men hadn’t known their flag,

The night that star first flew,

They’d have missed the invitation of all earth,

To rejoice in the King of Creation’s birth;

The astronomical discovery worthy of reward –

Announcing Royal worth.   

– eab, Dec. ’80

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Christmas vacation? So soon?

Now how can that be?

We are enjoying the boon,

Of school, work, and study.


Do we really have to go,

Leave themes and all that,

And go see snow,

Wear gloves and muffled hat?


Well, since you say so, O.K.

Matter of fact, that’s fine,

But this I would like to say,

We’ll hurry back for sixty – nine.


Good, God bless you, we pray

On Christmas as every day.

               – eab, 12/16/68

[1] Written for our second Christmas party at Hobe.

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HE CAME AT NIGHT (15th card)

Heaven had such luster, such delight,

While far below on the footstool of God,

The absence of beauty, the absence of light,

Ruled over river and rock and sod,

And over plants and over creeping things,

And animals with hoofs, and animals with wings.


For thousands of years it had been thus;

Day constantly pursued by the night.

Twilight toning to shades of dusk –

The way to walk again lost from sight –

Man floundering in murk and mire,

With only here and there a tiny fire.


The Creature saw His creatures’ needs;

Saw the contrast of heaven and earth,

Saw, through darkness, the wound that bleeds,

Saw the man in shadow’s firm girth;

And seeing He felt, seeing He cared,

And destined Heaven’s Light to be shared.


Christ left the sight of eternal morn,

Departed in mutual, Sovereign will.

And arrived at night, Ah, time forlorn;

Time that drags for the sad and the ill.

Oh, what Providence, that the Prince of Light,

Should arrive on earth in the middle of the night.


And the night to which He came was more,

Than a mere dome of black o’re head.

Sin had blackened the human shore

(Far worse than oil slicks of modern dread)

And proceeded to ink the rest of the race,

From the pagan’s hut to the civilized place.


All this night, all this visionless foul,

Christ, the Illustrious, met full of force.

He brightened them both (Don’t ask me how.)

And challenging, changed the nature, the course,

Of the darkness, the ruin, the blackness of sin,

Both outward and inward, the problems of men!


So as beautiful stars light he winter’s sky,

Remember that Christ came from brilliance – to none.

Sacrificing for man, that man might glorify

The Light, the only self-brilliant One.

And remember, heaven shared its gift of light,

In the middle of Bethlehem’s, Ah, the world’s dark night.

– eab, 12/14/79

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A carpenter’s Son! No, no, not that One.

Though of Joseph’s wife He was born.

Though a chisel He knew,

And when He used it chips flew,

He was to more than lumber adorn.


Nazareth, you say! The answer is nay!

Though He lived there as a mere boy,

Though His sandals and feet,

Left their print in its street.

Bethlehem was the city of first joy.


Joses’ Brother! No, He’s some Other.

Though that is how its made to seem,

Though they had common blood,

One’s dad came from Adam’s “mud”,

The Other’s Father from beyond stars’ gleam.


An unlearned Rebel! Nay, He was able

(Though He never sat in their schools

Though from doctor He’d not,

Learned their tittle and their jot)

He, time after time, corrected their rules.


Trials and a slur, contributions were,

Though Christ’s life had a constant tone,

Though anguished in His soul,

He held to His only goal,

And let false opinions die on their own. 

– eab, Dec. ‘78

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