‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
I wrote the following poem for a Christmas Eve service at our church. Some people suggested I share it, so enjoy!
‘Twas the Night before Christmas . . . in Guinea
‘Twas the night before Christmas, in our Guinea hometown
Without even a trace of snow on the ground;
The weather was warm and the foliage was green,
And a layer of dust gave the land a red sheen;
The Guinean children were all snug in their beds,
While visions of rice and sauce danced in their heads;
My wife, Billie, and I in our bed were asleep,
Resting as well as we could in the heat,
When from the mosque speaker arose such a clatter,
The first call to prayer was the cause of the chatter.
I got to my feet and I walked to the door,
and stepped out in the dark for ‘twas yet early morn.
The darkness around me was black as could be;
The town where we live had no power you see.
Still in the darkness some people I saw,
Praying as taught by their Muslim law.
Before very long, the sun rose in the sky,
Granting its light and its warmth to our eyes.
I stepped out of our yard into the dirt road,
And greeted our neighbors outside their abode.
On jaaraama, on jaaraama, they heard me say
Which translated in English, means “you be praised”
It’s the typical greeting a person will say
When meeting a friend or going on his way.
The neighbors greeted me, too, with big smiles on their faces,
And then hurried off to their respective workplaces.
With heartbreak I realized as I went on my way,
For them Christmas day was just any old day.
They don’t know the story of how long ago,
The Savior left heaven for earth far below.
He was born in a stable beneath a bright star,
And the wise men, they came bearing gifts from afar.
He never sinned once, He performed mighty deeds,
He was nailed to a cross, he died between thieves.
He was placed in a tomb, but didn’t there stay,
He arose from the dead upon the third day.
He offers us life and forgiveness from sin
If only we’ll trust, put our faith in him.
And this is the message the people don’t know,
In that faraway land that has never seen snow.
The Guinean people must hear our witness,
Cause that’s the great need in a land with no Christmas.