Poems of Christmas

  • December 16, 2010

magiWe weren’t sure what to expect when we launched our Poems of Christmas contest. But three dozen readers took the time to send us rhyme, and what splendid creativity poured forth from the nativity.

Entries were received from the young and the old, and we had one wonderful entry from a 66-year-old woman who forwarded a poem written when she was 17.  

Every entry stayed true to the example of Msgr. Tom Raby, the former Register columnist whose annual Christmas poem was the inspiration for this contest, by focussing on the peace and joy of the true meaning of Christmas.

Selecting winners was much more difficult than anticipated. In the end we awarded two prizes, one for the overall winner and a second prize for top children’s entry.

Our overall winner is Alan Atkins of  Barrie, Ont., whose poem “Nativity” impressed the judges for its prayerful simplicity. Atkins, 56, a father of seven and grandfather of six, has had a lifelong interest in poetry and recently sold his financial planning business to focus on writing.

“I am somewhat surprised and touched that my poem was selected,” he said.

The children’s winner is 11-year-old Emily Harris of Mississauga, Ont., who wrote “Christmas Poem,” in which she recounts the Christmas story with faith and clarity.

The winning poems are reprinted on this page, along with a memorable 1970s Christmas Poem by Fr. Raby, one of 37 poems published in Raby’s just-released book A Child is Born: Poems of Christmas (to purchase a copy, see the ad on our home page).



by Alan Atkins

In silent gratitude
I witness this Christmas dawn,
Its red energy rising
In my blood.

I give thanks
To be alive,
To know there is no end,
That there exists
Only this moment.
The Messiah
To time
So that each of us may be caught
In the timeless
Nativity of creation.

An expression
Of a love
So great
That even eternity
Cannot contain it.

Christmas Poem

by Emily Harris

On Christmas eve, in Bethlehem,
The child of God was born,
Nestled in a bed of hay
Wrapped in blankets torn.

Voices rang throughout the land
Like church bells in the night;
The Saviour has arrived on Earth
To bear a great new light.

A star appeared above the manger
Twinkling with heavenly light,
Guiding the way to Jesus Christ
And banishing sadness and fright.

The kings and shepherds saw the star
While shivering in the cold,
They understood its significance
And knew there was much to behold.

As they gathered ’round the child
Their hearts filled up with joy,
They knew that many wonders would come
From this tiny boy.

For the Saviour had come down to Earth
To save us from our sins,
To spread the word of God our Father
And to release the spirit within.

So whenever Christmas comes around
Forget the presents and bows,
Remember how Jesus came to us
To teach us the way to go.

I think you came too soon

by Msgr. Tom Raby

I saw the crib today, Jesus,
And heard how you came to Earth.
How every year at Christmastime
We celebrate your birth.

I’ve know about Santa Claus for years,
’Cause I’m almost six, you see.
But this is the first I’ve seen the crib
And your story was told to me.

Some say you were a long time coming.
I think you came too soon.
Why they hadn’t even television
Or landed on the moon.

They didn’t have a hospital
Like the place where I was born.
Now if you had just waited a couple years
There’d be plenty of rooms, empty and warm.

I didn’t see a nurse or doctor around,
Not a sign of a light or a tap.
And that Bethlehem town was so tiny, I’ll bet
It wasn’t even on the map.

Why didn’t you come in a rocket ship?
Or at least in a jet of your own?
Why did you settle for an old barn of a place
When you could have come into my home?

You could have played with my toys.
You could have slept in my bed.
We could have had fun, you and me,
If you’d just come to my place instead.

I don’t have sheep or cows like the ones
I saw ’round your manger that night.
But I got a dog and I’d share him with you.
He barks like heck, but won’t bite.

I do wish you’d come to my place though,
Because there’s no one to play with here.
There isn’t a kid within a mile of our house,
Least not anywhere, really near.

Mom ’n Dad are swell. You’d like them too,
Though we don’t get much time to play.
’Cause at night, I’m put to bed early,
And they go to work each day.

But we could do things together for sure
All summer long in our backyard pool.
The rest of the year’s no problem at all,
We can play at the nursery school.

It’d be nice to have a friend around
You could count on every day.
It gets awful lonesome at home with your toys
When everyone else is away.

I guess the place where you live doesn’t matter
So long as you’re not left alone.
That’s why I wished you’d waited awhile,
And come on down to my home.

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