A Christmas Lament


By Dean McIntyre
General Board of Discipleship

It sometimes may seem, as servants of the church in music and worship — or as Sunday School teachers, secretaries, day-care providers, and parents — that the demands placed upon us during Advent and Christmas make our own observance and celebration of the season difficult or even impossible. In the pressure of extra services and rehearsals, parties, pageants, and shopping, it is all too easy for us to lose sight of why we prepare for and celebrate Jesus' birth.

Give thanks for church musicians, pastors, teachers, and parents . . . and pray that they don't miss Jesus' coming this year.  

A Christmas Lament
(may be sung to the tune of It Came Upon a Midnight Clear or — with some rhythmic adjustment — O Little Town of Bethlehem)

I cannot welcome Jesus now, there isn't time enough;
With greens to hang and lights to string, and other Christmas stuff.
There's gifts to buy and food to fix, and silverware to buff.
I cannot welcome Jesus now, there isn't time enough.

I have to take the children to see Santa at the mall.
There's Christmas cards to write and mail,
and guest lists I must call.
The garland isn't long enough — the Christmas tree's too tall!
I cannot welcome Jesus now, I just can't do it all.

The children's Christmas pageant at the church this Sunday night;
Five dozen cookies to be baked and costumes sewn just right;
The office party gift exchange, expenses out of sight;
I cannot welcome Jesus now, with time and budget tight.

The sermon says that Advent is the time I should prepare.
My datebook says it's Christmas Day, and I don't even care.
I kept so busy doing things, I never was aware,
That Jesus came unnoticed, for I had no time to spare.

McIntyre (dmcintyre@gbod.org) is the music resources director in the Center for Worship Resourcing, The General Board of Discipleship.

“A Christmas Lament” by Dean McIntyre. Copyright © 1995 Dean McIntyre. Used by permission. Published 1999, 2004 by The General Board of Discipleship, The United Methodist Church, PO Box 340003; Nashville TN 37203; telephone 1-877-899-2780, ext. 7073. Web site: www.umcworship.org. All rights reserved.