Poem: The Christmas Story


The Christmas Story, by Val Kilbride


‘A census, Caesar’s called a census – it’s senseless absolutely senseless’

Cried Joseph feeling fraught, - ‘I don’t suppose he gave a thought 

To all I’d have to do, to get a loaded donkey - and a pregnant woman too, from Nazareth to Bethlehem -It’s 70 miles to Bethlehem – 

And then another few – and the baby’s almost due! 


‘We’ll manage’ love said Mary, ‘I know it’s kind of scary –

(The baby heard and gave a jump so she caressed her growing bump)

But we’ve simply got to go; you’re of the line of David,- the royal line you know,

and I know we’ve just a donkey and it’ll be a bumpy ride……

Then Mary smiled a little smile; she knew some precious things inside.

She knew the things God had in store and knew that He would go before. 


Their donkey, Ned, ear to the wall, now reckoned he had heard it all!

His couple were – well – not conventional; and what was more – almost unmentionableNot married yet – though that was intentional!

They were waiting until the baby was here, this was God’s plan, they had nothing to fear. 


Ned, sensing they were a special couple, 

Stretched out his legs to make them more supple, 

He checked on his hooves – they were alright 

Got ready for bed and put out the light.

He knew they’d be going the following day – 

Good job he and Joseph knew the right way.


The angels - in the realms of glory – would soon be singing in our story. 

They met each morning to rehearse; practising hard they knew every verse. 

Wings already becoming unfurled, round and round and round they twirled.

‘You’ll all be dizzy’ the choirmaster said, smiling indulgently, shaking his head.

‘Get into your places, sopranos and basses, lovely to see the smiles on your faces,altos, contraltos, and trumpeters too, harpists and cymbals – listen out for your cue. 

The song we’ll be singing when we get to earth is the song that will tell them of Jesus’ birth. It must be the best music that we ever make – such splendid news that we’re going to take! 


Our little family travelling along found that the journey was taking so long. 

Joseph was anxious, but doing his best, Mary was tired and needing to rest. 

‘Hee-haw’ said Neddy, - and he’d said that before!

 – I’m ever so hungry and me feet are so sore’


At last they arrived at their destination; 

but Joseph looked round with great consternation. 

Signs were hanging on every place – full up – no vacancies – run out of space!

‘Joseph’ said Mary, ‘I don’t want to hurry you and honestly Joseph, 

I don’t want to worry you, 

But please will you knock on that inn’s front door – I’m sure the baby won’t wait anymore!’


‘No room’ said the Innkeeper, counting his coffers, ‘So many people – I’m not open to offers’

‘Please’ began Joseph, ‘we need a big favour – my wife’s having a baby – 

She’s gone into labour’

Sorry’ he said ‘It’s really no good; we have no more rooms, I’d help if I could.’


But just then his wife, a mother of four, saw Mary in trouble and she knew the score! ‘You never think Abel – there’s room in the stable, 

now get some hot water and towels from the table.’


The choir of angels, humming their tune, began to get ready; 

they’d be leaving quite soon. 

The Lord’s special angel went over his speech –

it was a world full of people he wanted to reach. 

God had told him just what to say – 

and had just been to tell him - today is the day!

He’d to speak to the shepherds down on the ground 

and tell them the place where the babe could be found. 


Back in the stable, the animals woke, something was happening  

who was this bloke? And who was the lady, pacing around – 

and who was this donkey looking half drowned!

Said a camel to Ned, moving up in a stall,

‘Lie down by me, you look ready to fall.

What happened to you - you’re feeling wet through?

Has it been raining - you’ve had a good soak?’. 

Ned nodded to Mary, ‘Her waters just broke!’


Up on a hillside, just out of town, 

the shepherds on night shift were just sitting down, 

They’d spent the last hour counting their sheep 

– a boring old job; it could send you to sleep!

It was time for their supper - they opened their packing, 

They were talking and joking and generally yacking. 

When all of a sudden to their great surprise, 

a bright light from heaven lit up the skies!


It came closer, and closer, and closer until 

- in a terrible fear they’d have run down the hill   -   

But their legs were like jelly, they were really quite scared – 


Then God’s special angel with the speech he’d prepared,

Said ‘Don’t be so frightened, don’t be upset, 

the news that I’ve brought is the best you can get!’

He said he’d a message that would bring them great joy. 

He said in a stable they’d find a wee boy.

Down in the town, in the home of a stranger,

their Saviour was born and laid in a manger. 


Just then the heavens burst open with praising, 

the angelic choir, their voices were raising.

Giving God glory, saying earth would be blessed, 

that God’s special favour on all men would rest. 

Then, with a last flourish and still with them singing, 

they flew back to heaven, their voices still ringing. 


The shepherds were silent, feeling quite dazed. 

They stared into heaven, looking amazed. 

Had it all happened?  Was it just in their heads? 

Should they lie down or take to their beds?

They began to talk of all they had seen – what should they do? 

What did it mean?

And the more they talked of all they had heard;

they remembered and knew that this was God’s Word. 

They knew what was said by the prophet, Isaiah 

A child would be born to be the Messiah.

So leaving their sheep on that hillside so steep, 

faster and faster they started to run, 

down into Bethlehem to see God’s own Son. 


And there in the stable as they tiptoed in, 

were Mary and Joseph – his face one big grin!

And there was the baby, out of all danger, 

tucked up in blankets and laid in a manger. 

It was just as the angel had said it would be, 

and the shepherds, in wonder, bowed at the knee. 


‘This is Jesus’ said Joseph, ‘God gave me His name. 

One night I was dreaming when a bright angel came

and told me that I had a part in God’s plan 

to bring, through this baby, Salvation to man.’ 


And Mary knew in that place in her heart, 

that for Jesus, her baby, this was the start  ……..


But she’d leave all those thoughts for the days that would come

And for now, just enjoy being Jesus’ mum. 


And Neddy the donkey, his eyes all a-glisten,

Told the story of Jesus to all who would listen!


-Val Kilbride

Image by Please Don't sell My Artwork AS IS from Pixabay