What if the real St. Nicholas could come to visit on Christmas Eve? Here’s a poem for imagining how it would be different from the accounts of visits by the St. Nick created by fantasy.

If you find this poem thought-provoking, perhaps you will share it. In case you wish to print it, there is a link to a printable copy following the poem.



‘Twas the night before Christmas,
When all through the house
Nothing was stirring–
Not a phone, nor a mouse.
The stockings were hung on the mantle with care
Cuz we’d let the kids think
That “St. Nick” would be there.

The kids had all been tucked into their beds,
While Santa movies danced in their heads.
Mom was on the treadmill we’d recently bought,
And I found myself very deep in thought.

At home and abroad there was great turmoil;
Wars had been blazing on foreign soil.
There was such devastation of lives and of land;
It made one wonder what next lay at hand.

The price of groceries had become sky high;
It was hard to find gifts we could afford to buy.
To save money, we’d turned our thermostat down;
We’d seen rows of homeless people when going downtown.

The serious conditions we found ourselves in
Made me think past all of the holiday din.
I thought of God’s Son, born that holy night,
And the manger scene fell within my sight.

The Babe in the manger was receiving adoration
From Mary and Joseph, in their earthly station.
A donkey and a cow were in the scene,
And two shepherds were there, with some sheep in between.

Near the scene stood a candle with a glow so bright
That I discerned ‘twas “The Light of the World” born that night.
I thought of the glow of the angel who brought joy
By telling the shepherds of that holy Baby Boy.

And then my thoughts turned to the real St. Nicholas.
It was his life that sparked the custom at Christmas
Of waiting for Santa and his reindeer to stop by.
His true story had been altered very greatly over time.

The real “St. Nick” had lived many centuries ago
And, instead of red and white, wore a bishop’s black robe.
The death of both his parents had left him very wealthy,
But he generously gave of his wealth to those in poverty.

The real “St. Nick” resided in a dangerous location,
Where the ruling Roman leaders were persecuting Christians.
Since he wouldn’t deny his faith and give in,
Those who took him to prison tortured him.

If the real “St. Nick” could stop by at our home on Christmas Eve,
I believe that he would bow his head beside our manger scene
And thank our Heavenly Father for sending down His Son.
Because God sent Him down, man’s salvation had been won.

The angel told the shepherds that Christ’s birth brought peace on earth,
But it wasn’t the outward kind that was brought through Jesus’ birth.
Instead it was the inward kind—the kind that dwells inside;
It’s for those who would believe that for our sins Jesus died.

There was strife in the world into which Christ was born,
And the world of St. Nicholas by strife was torn.
Every day the world seems to grow more unsure.
Until Christ returns, outward peace won’t endure.

Perhaps very soon Christ will snatch up believers,
To spare them The Great Tribulation years.
Had the real “St. Nick” been here, I think He’d say:
“Merry Christmas to all! Be ready for that day!”


© 2023 JoAnne Lily Stark

Permission to reproduce without alteration

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