A Poetic Christmas Homily from a Capuchin

My provincial minister, John Celichowski OFM Cap. wrote a wonderful homily for Christmas. Since he has posted his homily on our website: www.thecapuchins.org, I decided to include it here. If you choose to you all or part of this homily in your worship or own homily, I humbly ask that you give recognition to my provincial.

Peace and God Bless this Christmas season. -Br. Vito Martinez, OFM Cap.

Twas the night before Christmas
Two Thousand and Nine.
Not a creature was stirring.
I was standing in line.

I’m a last-minute shopper,
And so there I was
In the check-out at Wal-Mart
When I felt a great buzz…

My cell phone, now hung
By my belt with some care,
Urgently asked me
To answer it there.

The line wasn’t moving,
So I picked up the phone.
My wife called and said,
“Well, I’m here all alone.”

“The children are sleeping,
All tucked in their beds,
While visions of Zhu Zhu pets
Dance in their heads.”

Since I was still out
My wife wasn’t shy
To add to our list
Of stuff we should buy.

So with a chuckle and sigh
I finished more shopping,
Checked out and drove home
Without even stopping.

I got just in the house
When I heard such a clatter,
I ran to the front door
To see what was the matter!

Away down the porch stairs
I flew like a flash,
But I slipped on the ice
And fell down with a crash!
When what to my wondering
Eyes did appear
But a miniature sleigh and
Eight tiny reindeer!

They were scrunched in the back
Of a small SUV,
And Santa in front
With a small Christmas tree.

It was perched on the dashboard
And made quite a sight
With ornaments, garland,
And plenty of lights.

Santa pulled to the curb
And got out of the truck.
He noticed my stare
And said, “I had some good luck.”

“The old sleigh was too heavy
And became quite a junker
So I traded it in
When they had ‘Cash for Clunkers.’”

“Can you give me a hand?”
He asked as he gathered our stuff
“I’ve got a large sack
But it won’t be enough.”

So I helped the saint out
And we brought the gifts in.
To be blessed with so many
Almost felt like a sin.

As he dragged in our gifts
With a grimace and frown,
He saw our old loveseat
And asked to sit down.

His tired expression
Then started to change
When he saw some fresh cookies
Cooling off on our range.

So I went to the kitchen
And fixed him a plate
With a nice glass of milk.
He said, “This is great!”

Santa ate the whole platter
With barely a word,
Then he sat back in his chair.
The man barely stirred.

He went strangely silent,
The jolly old elf.
His eyes tightly closed,
He went into himself.

It seemed like forever,
But the silence soon broke.
His eyes then grew misty,
And Santa Claus spoke:

“I don’t get it,” he said
As he looked ‘round the room,
“While folks should be happy,
It’s all gloom and doom.”

“Folks losing their houses….
Can’t find any work….
To say, “Merry Christmas!’
Makes me fell like a jerk.”

Barack got the Peace Prize
While expanding a war
And Congress’ fighting
Makes everyone sore.

The nations of the world
All argue and bicker
While the oceans are rising
Ever quicker and quicker.

“But what worries me most”
Santa then said to me,
“Is what I see here…”
And he glanced toward our tree.

“Does it look fake to you?”
I asked with concern.
“We wanted a real one
But feared it might burn.”

“Is it the garland,” I asked,
“Too little or too much?
“Or the ‘Transformers’ Santa
That sits in our hutch?”

Santa then shook his head.
“No, look over there.”
Then he pointed his finger
Toward the back of a chair.

And there, in a corner,
Near some gifts for our pet,
Stood an old family heirloom:
Our Nativity Set.

It was still in the box,
Like some garbage we’d tossed.
An old Christmas orphan
Forgotten and lost.

“So often I see that,”
He said with some sadness.
“And Jesus gets lost
In this gift-giving madness.”

The stores now gear up
For the holiday scene
Within only a day
After we have Halloween.

“What is Christmas?” he asked.
He then went on to say,
“It’s a time to give thanks for
God’s loving way.”

“Long, long ago,
In a land poor and cold
Our Savior was born,
The One promised of old.”

“Emmanuel came,
A child fragile and poor.
He was laid in a manger
In a world so unsure.”

“His mother and father
Were amazed when they saw
The shepherds and magi
Approach him with awe.”

“The angels had told them,
‘God’s with you, don’t fear!’
But they’d almost forgotten
When the found themselves here.”

“The Light of the World
Thus came to our earth,
To bring us new life
Through a new kind of birth.”

“He reached out to sinners,
The sick and the lost.
His mission was short.
He paid quite a cost.”

“He challenged injustice.
He made the lame walk.
He fed the five thousand.
He made the mute talk.

“He taught his disciples
There’s victory through loss,
And then…he showed them:
He died on the cross.”

“That wasn’t the end, though.
Christ rose from the grave!
The world that destroyed him
Was the world he would save.”

“That,” Santa said,
As he rose from his seat,
“Is the true meaning of Christmas
The gift that’s most sweet.”

Then he reached ‘round that chair
And opened the box,
That stood there behind it
Right next to the socks.

He took out the statues,
The straw and the stable,
And laid them all out
On our living room table.

He finished and stepped back.
Then he knelt down to pray.
Santa slowly got up
And went on his way.

But I heard him exclaim
As he drove out of sight,
“Merry Christmas to all,
And to all a good night!”

Apologies to Clement Clark Moore -John Celichowski, OFM Cap.

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