‘Twas the night before Christmas, when through the church house,
All the creatures were stirring, including the mouse.
The decorations were hung by the committee with care,
In hopes that Mrs. Grumplestilskin just wouldn’t dare (complain, that is).
The children were robed for their Christmas play skits,
While visions of presents kept giving them fits.
The pastors in frocks and ushers in place,
Hoped that the cherubs wouldn’t burn down the place.
When outside the doors there rose such a clatter,
You’d think Mrs. Bones had dropped her old platter.
Away to the sidewalk deacons flew in a flash
(well, not really a flash–average age is 92),
To see if folks had come, perhaps flush with some cash.
The moon on the top of the stinkin’, slick ice,
Made their stroll on the sidewalk not very nice.
When what to their wondering eyes did appear,
But a late Uber driver all red in his ears.
With passengers old but so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment ‘twas some medical trick.
To the church doors they moved, so promptly they came,
As the driver shouted for his fare and called them by name.
“Now, Asher! Now, Stanfield! Now Tricia, you vixen!
Hey, darn it, I’m calling! Come on now, please listen!”
As leaves before a good leaf blower fly,
They scurried to the front, all eager and spry.
So up to the stage did the play director crawl,
Hoping this year there’d be no post-production brawl.
And then, in a twinkling, I couldn’t believe,
Young Johnny missed his cue and forgot to bring Steve.
But there was sweet Mary (her actual name) who played the best part,
Of the little babe’s Mom, all dressed for the start.
The innkeeper was garbed in white from his head to his foot,
But he’d gotten into the furnace room and was covered with soot.
The pastors let out a simultaneous sigh,
Wondering if they could just escape on the sly.
To their utmost chagrin they could not escape,
Sadly, seminary had not prepared them for this (ahem) wonderful fate.
Proceeded then the play, with its fits and its starts,
Until little Johnny let out a series of loud (nope, can’t say that).
The faint-hearted director was taken aback,
By the prospects of (still can’t say that) taking over the pack.
Cherub giggling broke out and there was some very great chatter,
The spry ones in front pew couldn’t tell just what ‘twas the matter.
The pastors tried to seem like not a thing was astray,
But they knew they couldn’t pull it off, no how and no way.
All of a sudden, from way in the back,
Five live sheep appeared and a man with a sack.
They stumbled forward not realizing the fuss,
The sheep all wondering whom they could trust.
They got to the front and saw the small crowd,
Of cherubs all giggling and talking aloud.
The play was so lost that the director made haste,
To get to the finish with no time to waste.
But the sheep not clued in to the need for some speed,
Spent time chewing stuff and one of them (nope, can’t say that either).
The director cried out that she’d had enough,
And went for the door in a pretty great huff.
The kids left alone without any direction,
Didn’t really care about the want of attention.
By this time the crowd was after the pastors,
It seems they own everything, even those old gal crafters.
So, one pastor stood with his face all aglow,
He wanted to land just one mighty blow.
But they did say, in that seminary school,
That throttling kids or sheep was, well, totally uncool.
The play with kids and the sheep and the smells,
Couldn’t go any more badly on this day of the bells.
But just when all thought nothing worse could be done,
Flames shot out from one young sheep’s buns.
It seems that a cherub had taken a candle,
Even one he’d been told that he shouldn’t handle.
The candle had lit up the front of the place,
Bright flames were alighting in most every space.
With everything wrong and the prospect of danger,
It seemed that there’d be no time for the manger.
It ‘twas such surreal and crazy, fraught scene,
That the pastors both just wanted to scream.
It couldn’t be; they couldn’t take any more,
They both ran (with no twinkle) right for the door.
Sad tale this is and pretty darn rotten,
But truth is, it doesn’t happen that often.
Turns out this time that the pastor was dreaming,
His wife woke him up when he started some screaming.
He couldn’t believe the old play gave such great fright,
He just wanted to try to make everything right.
But it seems that tradition grabs hold of all things,
And fills up the nights with such very bad dreams.
It appears that it’s true that it’s most hard to do,
To hold onto Jesus and everything true.
But still, those pastors will try with all of their might,
Even this year to say,
“Happy Christmas to all and, to all a good night!”
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