advent journal: samuel’s song


    I realize I just posted a story a couple of days ago, but this one feels right for tonight. It was also written for a Christmas Eve service and was inspired by my wonderful red-headed godson, Samuel.


    Samuel’s Song:
    A Story for Christmas

    by Milton Brasher-Cunningham

    Once upon a time – that’s how stories start,
    At least all the good ones that pull at your heart –

    But that would mean this one happened one past December;
    Yet I think, if it did, we would surely remember

    And we would be different – marked, as it were,
    If this trail of events had already occurred.

    So here is a story of a Christmas to come,
    In a time much like ours, In a place we’d call home.

    It was the night before Christmas, or sometime that day
    And Samuel was thinking about the cool Christmas play

    They had done at the church on the Sunday before
    And he wished he knew someone who could tell him some more

    About shepherds and mangers and prophets and things,
    But mostly what it sounds like to hear angels sing

    Because that was the part that attracted him most:
    When the shepherds were sung to by the heavenly host.

    Samuel didn’t know a lot about shepherds and such,
    But he figured that they didn’t look very much

    Like him in his bathrobe with a towel on his head;
    So at pageant rehearsal that’s just what he said,

    Though not expecting to bring his teacher to tears
    By asking if all shepherds bought their clothes at Sears.

    Yet bathrobe and all, he was struck with deep wonder
    By the choir of angels and it caused him to ponder

    What all they could change and what joy they could bring
    If the angels would only come once more and sing

    To the poor and the hungry and those out in the cold,
    To parents and children, to folks young and old.

    ‘Cause the shepherds were moved when they heard the song
    And came out of the cold to a place they belonged;

    They were poor and outcast, so the minister said,
    And then angels showed up and sang up over their heads

    Of how Jesus had come to bring love and light
    And so they were changed on that Christmas night.

    He looked for the angels as he walked downtown
    In the big crowds of people who were gathered around

    The shops and the stores getting last minute stuff —
    Though most of them seemed to be in quite a huff.

    In all of the noise, the clack and the clatter
    There was no room for angels: that’s what was the matter

    Thought Samuel as he watched people caught in the fray;
    How could this be such a terrible day?

    He scoured the sky with all of his might,
    But nowhere – but nowhere – was an angel in sight.

    He walked out of the store and into the street
    And there on a park bench he happened to meet

    A woman who sat without boxes or bags,
    And was dressed not in warm clothes, but mostly in rags.

    She was mostly invisible to the folks passing by,
    But something about her caught Samuel’s eye

    And his heart — for he knew she was out in the cold,
    A lot like the shepherds in the story of old.

    He wished that the sky would fill up with a song,
    And the angels would tell her how much she belonged

    But there weren’t any angels up over their heads,
    So Samuel decided that he’d sing instead:

    Gloria in excelcis deo
    Gloria in excelcis deo

    He finished his song and she looked with a smile;
    For no one had noticed her in quite awhile.

    She opened her arms to give him an embrace
    And he saw the kindness alive in her face

    And he knew that he had to keep singing his song,
    But what he didn’t see was she followed along,

    So when he paused at the bus stop to sing once again,
    The woman was with him and she joined in.

    Gloria in excelcis deo
    Gloria in excelcis deo

    From the bus stop they headed straight into a store
    And this time the voices amounted to more

    Than just two, there were three, six and ten,
    Each time that he sang, the choir grew again.

    Gloria in excelcis deo
    Gloria in excelcis deo

    Until finally it seemed every one in the town
    Had stopped all their shopping and put packages down

    To join in the song that the angels once sang
    And together their voices all joyfully rang

    Gloria in excelcis deo
    Gloria in excelcis deo

    When the singing was finished and people headed for home,
    Samuel and the woman were once more alone

    And were back at the bench where they first had met
    And she hugged him up tight; “You’re an angel,” she said.

    I wish that we’d had the chance to be there that night
    When everyone took the time to sing with delight

    As if angels surrounded as they sang along,
    As if the world could be changed by a sweet simple song.

    Oh, we are: for tonight the babe will be born
    Into our world, our time, to bring our Christmas morn.

    Shepherds ran to the manger when they heard that first song;
    Tonight open your hearts and lets all sing along:

    Gloria in excelcis deo
    Gloria in excelcis deo



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