The Meaning of Christmas

This poem was written after watching a show on TV in England, which had several celebrities reciting the “Nation’s Favourite Christmas Poems”. They depressed me so much I set about to rectify the situation. I think it is poignant that now, ten years on, I still find this poem as relevant and necessary as it was to me back then. 

Year after year, as I look around,
There’s more and more lights, tinsel and sound.
People go shopping for presents galore –
‘Buy bigger, buy better, than years gone before’.

Sometimes I sit down, wonder and think,
Surrounded by wrappings, bought cards and ink –
‘Where’d it all start? What does it mean?
What e’er happened to the spirit unseen?’

What’s the meaning of Christmas? I really must ask!
To find out the answer is such a hard task:
From shopkeeper to milkman, newsreader to priest,
Not one of them knows, from West to East.

I seem to remember some stories of old,
Of Santa Claus, reindeer, and elves young and old.
Of Aslan the Lion, and the wicked White Witch,
Or, did I hear right, of Jesus the Christ?

These I have pondered, the old and the new –
Only one, out of all, stands out true –
Of Jesus the Christ, Saviour, Messiah,
The one whose forgiveness all man must desire.

The baby who to Virgin Mary was born
In a warm stable, ‘midst the hay and the corn;
The shepherds they came from their flocks with great joy
To worship and honour the Spirit-filled boy.

The Wise Men they came with their gifts from afar –
With gold, myrrh and frankincense, followed the star.
Likewise must we, with one accord,
Bow to our King, our Saviour and Lord.

For it is Christ who gives us the meaning
Of the brief season that has us careening
From shop to shop, and from kitchen to parlour,
Till all is gone from our energy and larder.

STOP! Take stock! Make time to think
Of the reason for all the wrappings, bought cards and ink –
The joy on the faces of those who receive,
And the gift that God gives to all men who believe.

Written by Laurel C Kriegler, December 2004, England.


About Laurel C Kriegler

A born and bred South African, I was educated at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa, where I graduated with an Honours Degree (post-graduate) in Economics at the end of 2001. After spending several years gaining work experience in the UK, I returned to South Africa to get married. It was during the ensuing period that my pursuits of writing and editing took hold.
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