Christmas Poems: Jesus’ Carol/Carol of the Angels

A blessed Advent and merry Christmas to one and all!

Govert Flinck, “Angels Announcing Christ's Birth to the Shepherds,” 1639
Govert Flinck, “Angels Announcing Christ's Birth to the Shepherds,” 1639 (photo: Public Domain)

I really enjoy writing Christmas poems, and have composed fourteen since 1996. It's a very different form of writing for an apologist like myself, whose subject matter is almost exclusively non-fiction, so it's a fun challenge every time I set out to write another one. We apologists always love challenges, after all! They usually come to me very quickly in a burst of inspiration.

My poem about the angels, for example, was written in about an hour in the middle of the night on Dec. 7, 2015. I've heard that songwriting is often of a similar nature. Paul McCartney woke up one morning with the entire melody of Yesterday in his head (original title: “Scrambled Eggs”!).

I love the special feeling I experience in writing these poems. It reminds me a lot of what it feels like to hear one's favorite Christmas carols. It's the spirit of love, of the gospel message, of God Himself; indeed, the spirit of Christmas.

It may sound cliched and childish to some, but it's assuredly a real thing. I am often blessed in being privileged to defend the Catholic faith and sometimes Christianity in general (in response to atheists), but rarely as much as I am when I write these Christmas poems.

Some of my earlier Christmas poems were of a more “secular” nature. I did two take-offs of ’Twas the Night Before Christmas (actual title: A Visit from St. Nicholas). My first poem in 1996 was a satire of this classic: humorously commenting upon Internet obsession, which many by that year (including myself!) were already suffering from. In 2000 I did another parody, dealing with the strange presidential election that took over a month to figure out.

Of my fourteen Christmas poems, six have been of an “historical fiction” nature and much more serious than my purely “fun” efforts: dealing with people in the Bible who were connected with the first Christmas. I took special care to be historically accurate, according to what is recorded in the Bible. The two below belong to this sub-category.

In 2009, my poem was written from the perspective of Jesus becoming incarnate — becoming a man, and a baby — yet remaining all the while God. It was quite a daunting challenge (writing as if one were God speaking!), but I tried to keep it relatively simple. God Himself simplifies the complexities of His nature and message in communicating them to us in Holy Scripture. Otherwise, we would never be able to comprehend these deep mysteries at all.

My latest poem was written from the angels' point of view: another fascinating perspective. I hope you like these, and a blessed Advent and merry Christmas to one and all.


Coming Down from Heaven (Jesus’ Carol)

From all eternity, age to age; since the “beginning,” I AM;
With My Father I created the universe: all things that are.
We decreed to save mankind by sacrifice of “God’s Lamb”;
Foretold in Isaiah 53: Messiah scorned, slain, and scarred.

My mother gave I the grace to be immaculate, without sin;
Fit vessel for God incarnate: ark of the new covenant pure.
Gabriel hailed New Eve “full of grace”: redemption to begin;
Virgin with child by the Holy Spirit; man’s salvation now sure.

In fullness of time I came down from glorious heaven above;
Clothed with human flesh: a baby-king (!) of Israel from birth.
Lying in a cave; a manger, in the world I had made and loved,
I was worshiped by shepherds and wise men filled with mirth.

Though seeing through infant eyes: helpless, innocent, meek;
I knew all things, possessed God’s wisdom even in that hour.
As a baby, though King and Messiah, I cried and didn’t speak;
But I sustained the entire universe by the Word of My power.

Even animals at My birth sensed the wonder prophesied of old;
Mary and Joseph were filled with thankful happiness and joy.
The three kings gave Me gifts: frankincense, myrrh, and gold;
Shepherds adored, fell before God: now present as a baby boy.

Mary held Me close and rejoiced, under the star’s shiny beam;
I was dependent on her as a son, though I was God all the while.
I contemplated the reason I was born, and how I would redeem.
But now all was contentment and peace, so I rested and smiled.

Carol of the Angels

I am the archangel Gabriel, privileged to stand in the presence of the Lord. [1]
When Zechariah fathered John the Baptist; I explained to him John’s role. [2]
To holy Daniel of old I prophesied about 70 weeks and empires of the sword. [3]
The entire landscape of history from beginning to end; all is able to be foretold.

Appearing to Mary of Nazareth I proclaimed God with her always; day by day. [4]
Bearing Messiah: God the Son, was to be her unfathomable joy and singular task.
I hailed, confirming grace and favor upon her: the Mother to the Truth and Way,
Teaching her about the Holy Spirit’s overshadowing, when confused, she did ask.

I am the angel of the Lord, as bright as the sun, reflecting God’s glory and power.
Sent to announce to Bethlehem’s shepherds in the field, good tidings of great joy. [5]
From heaven to their town came the Savior, Christ the Lord: born in that very hour.
Filled with awe, they rushed to the manger in the cave, for to worship the holy boy.

I am the angel who was sent to roll back the stone enclosing our risen Lord’s tomb,
Appearing like lightning; robes white as snow, scaring the guards who could hear it.
Informing both Marys: “Don’t be afraid. Jesus lives! Tell others He shall appear soon!
“In Galilee, then Jerusalem; the new Christian age to begin, by the Holy Spirit.” [6]


Biblical sources:

[1] Luke 1:19
[2] Luke 1:12-17
[3] Daniel 8 and 9
[4] Luke 1:26-38
[5] Luke 2:8-12
[6] Matthew 28:2-7