Today’s Advent Reflection is a poem written by yesterday’s preacher, Rev. Eugene Palmore, called “Mr. Messiah.”
It happened so long ago
it’s kind of difficult to remember
this special night you ask about
in a long ago December.
I was just a small boy then
I wasn’t any more than ten,
and the only thing I was interested in
was having fun with my friends.
We’d play in the fields and jump about
throw stones and climb trees.
We’d tease the girls and pull their curls
and sometimes help our fathers herd sheep.
But something funny was going on,
I remember the elders talkin’ ‘round the fire.
Talkin’ about a new king or something –
Somebody named Mr. Messiah.
And every time I asked what was going on
some of the elders got perturbed.
Why one them even told my mother,
“You know, children should be seen… and not heard!”
So I went on about my business,
Runnin’ and playin’ in the fields.
But all through the village the whispers grew louder,
and I wanted know “What was the deal?”
Who was this Mr. Messiah
and why was he so good?
My friends didn’t know
and my parents wouldn’t say,
but I wanted to find out as much as I could…
about this mystery, invisible man
with the weird, funny sounding name.
What was so important about him?
What was his claim to fame?
Then quite by chance one day I heard
Mr. Messiah my father was going to see.
And I pleaded, “Daddy, Daddy, please take me with you!
Please Daddy, please, please, please!?”
I turned and looked to my mother who said,
“It’s all right if your father says it’s okay.”
“Ok, I’ll take you with me,” he said.
“Just promise you’ll keep out of the way?”
Well the journey we took was long,
and we met others and traveled with them.
I asked one in the group, “Where is it we go?”
and he replied, “We follow the star to Bethlehem.”
It was then I first noticed this Star,
so bright I thought it was day.
And it filled me with a special warmth
that’s stayed with me even unto today.
And as I looked around me, I saw this vast array
of Kings & Queens and shepherds like us
all going to see Mr. Messiah that day.
By night fall we came upon a midnight clear
to Bethlehem, a town of old.
And the light of the Star
led us to a small manger bed
in a stable damp and cold.
There stood a man and a woman,
and a child wrapped in swaddling clothes.
And I cried out, “Daddy! Daddy! Is that man Mr. Messiah?”
He said, “Hush, my child, and do as you’re told.”
Then something strange began to happen,
and I couldn’t believe my eyes.
The Kings and Queens and shepherds and all
began to lay gifts at the baby’s side.
There was gold, myrrh, and frankincense
With gifts of cattle and sheep.
But through it all, the little baby lay still –
he appeared to be fast asleep.
Then my father whispered to me,
“This is the Messiah, my son.
This babe is the King we seek.”
Well my eyes grew wide because I was happy inside.
“Daddy! He’s a boy…just like me!”
Then suddenly my smiled disappeared
for I had nothing to give.
And all had come with a gift for the child
sleeping in his manger crib.
Then he started to cry aloud,
and his mother soothing him said,
“Hush, little Jesus, now don’t you cry.”
As she caressed his tiny little head.
Then in my heart there arose a song,
so up to the manger I crept.
“I hope you like my song, Sweet Prince.
For it is all I have left.”
Sweet little Jesus boy
You lie there and you make this noise
I wonder what is going through your mind.
Sweet little holy child
Your mother’s so young, so meek, so mild
What’s in your heart, won’t you give me a sign?
They call you Mr. Messiah
But that’s kind of strange you see
I expected a great tall man
But somehow you look more like me.
I didn’t bring you a gift
Like these beautiful Kings & Queens.
I am just a poor small boy
I only know how to sing.
So take this gift, it’s all I own
I give to you, my Lord, my all
I hope you find it pleasing to the ear.
Now dry your eyes and cry no more
And though I’m just a shepherd boy
Let me wipe away your precious tears.
And when I finished my song,
my world felt so complete.
For I looked over at the baby Jesus
and He smiled…He smiled just for me!
So that’s all I seem to remember
of that December so long ago,
When Kings & Queens brought a small infant child
gifts of myrrh, frankincense, and gold.
But I who had nothing
got something more precious, you see.
That of all the gifts the baby Jesus received…
I sang and He smiled…He smiled.
Mr. Messiah smiled only for me!
By Eugene Palmore