By Bethany Riehl
‘Twas the night of Christ’s birth and all through the land
The only noise to be heard was the bleating of lambs.
Shepherds that kept watch stood warm by the fire
Longing for hope in a world so desperately dire.
In a manger was newborn Jesus, wrapped in swaddling clothes;
God’s precious answer to man’s lifetime of woes.
His mother, Mary, a virgin, lay nestled nearby
And Joseph, her husband, worked to keep them all dry.
Unaware as they looked on the fragile babe in awe,
That angels joyously proclaimed the fulfillment of the Law.
To frightened dirty shepherds that kept watch through the night,
Cherubs worshipped the God of glory and light.
The infant’s heavy eyelids closed in newborn sleep,
But soon Jesus was startled by the bleating of sheep.
As Mary and Joseph looked on in surprise,
Shepherds approached God’s only Son with tears in their eyes.
His hands—someday to be stained with our sin—
Were in tight little fists thrust under His chin.
His eyes that beheld the world when it was new,
Now glistened and sparkled a soft baby blue.
He cried out in hunger for His mother to hear,
And she tucked Him in close as more shepherds drew near.
“This,” they wondered, “is the hope for all men?”
Then each one believed what the angel told them:
“Born to you this day and lying in a manger
Is Christ Jesus the Lord, your only true Savior.”
Having seen Him that night, they hastened to spread,
Good news to Bethlehem’s people, who slept in their beds.
Mary held all of this deep in her heart;
When His life came to an end she would think of this start.
In a humble manger with a trough for a bed,
A cross on Golgotha is where He would be led.
Hope for sinners would be hung there to die
But three days later would victoriously rise.
Triumphant and whole, our Savior would then,
Sit down beside God—ransom paid!—for the sin of all men.
©Bethany Riehl 2011