Column: ‘Twas the night before Christmas
On Halloween of 2012, I began writing “‘Twas The Night Before Christmas…In Rosemount” for my Christmas column. I chose to write about Christmas Eve because I’ve always considered it the most magical night of the year. Upon finishing it, to my surprise, I thought it would make a special Christmas book for the people of Rosemount. I asked one of my junior students if he’d be interested in illustrating it. One year later, we had a book, a lifelong dream of mine. Six years later, people still buy it, along with the two that came later. I hadn’t revisited this poem for six years. I’m sharing an updated version (especially the added ending) as my Christmas column this year. I hope you enjoy reading it today as much as I enjoyed writing it in 2012.
'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the school,
Not a person was present; they were home for the Yule;
The lockers were closed and the stairwells were bare,
Unlikely St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The teachers were gone for a much needed break,
At home with their kinfolk, eggnog and some cake.
The boss and his wife and his kids home as well,
Had just wrapped their presents, but no one would tell.
When out in the front of the school on this night,
A strange distant sound and a bright blinding light.
Away to the windows the townspeople ran.
Tore open the shutters, “Could that be our band?”
The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow,
Provided a backdrop to this glorious show.
“It’s Christmas Eve! What are they doing out there?”
But the sound was so sweet that they really didn’t care.
With four senior drum majors, so lively and quick,
The city assumed they were greeting St. Nick.
And then came the singers, 70 or more,
Combined with the band, and the nimble flag corps.
"Now! Devon, now! Hannah, now! Keegan, and Maggie,
"On! Tommy, on! Alyx, on! Mitchell and Calli;
"To the side of the school! To the top of the wall!
"Now play away, sing away, music for all!
As midnight grew nearer and Santa drew nigh
The town and its people, emotions so high!
So down to the valley all Rosemount did head,
With their hearts full of joy – no one stayed in their bed:
And then in a twinkling, they heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
Excited and awestruck, the young and the old
All waited and waited, no matter the cold.
So many were clothed in their winter apparel,
A small child started to sing out a carol.
He looked like an angel amid the night air:
His voice so melodic, a smile he did wear.
His eyes - how they twinkled! His voice, sweet and pure;
The crowd soon grew quiet, and listened for sure;
The words of his song spoke to love among all,
The old and the young, and the short and the tall.
The sound floated upwards, throughout all the town,
The volume grew stronger, so magic their sound.
The houses all emptied, they walked hand-in-hand
And people they came from all over this land.
They didn’t quite know what this strange magic was,
They didn’t quite know, but it stirred quite the buzz.
The little boy stopped once he knew all were there.
All Rosemount had gathered; he smiled, aware
That Christmas Eve soon would become Christmas Day,
And the people of Rosemount would sing and would play.
But first they had moved from their homes to the school,
This had to be something. “It’s special! It’s cool!”
And then, with a swift gust of wind, spoke the child.
The people went quiet, held hands, and just smiled.
“This night is so special, it’s true. Don’t you see?
This night is for people like you and like me.
This night should belong to the rich and the poor
This night should bring happiness and so much more.”
And then this young cherub, he started to fade;
The people all looked at each other, afraid.
“I must leave you now, it is time to take flight,
I want you to forever remember this night.
From out of your houses you came all together
No matter the cause, no matter the weather.
What makes you so special is that you are one.
In good times and bad, in pain and in fun.”
But just as his image no more could be seen,
He spoke one more time, his words so serene.
“So turn to your neighbor, whoever they be
It’s Christmas, so give them your best Christmas squeeze.
I’ll come back next year, and we’ll do this again,
But for now, Happy Christmas to all my new friends!”
He floated above them and then disappeared.
The people of Rosemount all smiled and cheered.
They returned to their homes, so happy and bright.
And they never forgot this magical night.
May some of your dreams on this blessed Christmas Eve
Speak to love and to peace. And always Believe.