The Greatest Gift by Chris South

          The Greatest Gift

What does Christmas mean to you

What has this holiday become?

A time of toys

For girls and boys

And endless bills for dad and mum?


Let’s put Christ back into Christmas

Without Him it just wouldn’t be

The Infant born in a stable

God gave to you and me!


What does Christmas mean to you

Whose purpose does it serve?

A time to shop

Until you drop

And buy what you’re told you deserve?


Let’s put Christ back into Christmas

Without Him it just wouldn’t be

The Son of God incarnate

Who came to set us free!


What does Christmas mean to you

What is this season all about?

A time to indulge

That yuletide bulge

And then let it all hang out?


Let’s put Christ back into Christmas

Without Him it just wouldn’t be

The Saviour who atoned for sin

When He hung on Calvary!


What does Christmas mean to you

Who is it you adore?

Does Santa Claus

Deserve the applause

For giving you more and more?


Let’s put Christ back into Christmas

Without Him it just wouldn’t be

The Messiah who conquered death and hell

And rose in victory!


What does Christmas mean to you

Why is it you remember?

With festive cheer

This time each year

The 25th day of December?


So let’s not forget this Christmas

The reason why we give

For Jesus Christ was given to men

And died so we might live.


So let’s not forget each Christmas

Christ, crucified for you and me

The Greatest Gift God ever gave

His only Son, He sent to save

Who bore our sins and burst the grave

And reigns eternally!



The Hour of the Donkey by Pamela Mann

What was it really like in that stable? I am grateful to our own Retford Laureate for allowing me to share this with you all. Ed

The Hour of the Donkey

Out in the stable were shepherds and kings,
Mary and Joseph and angels with wings.
The cattle were lowing, a star shone bright
Over the stable on that Christmas night.
Back in a corner a donkey stood proud
Unable to sleep because of the crowd.
He’d carried the Virgin all the way there;
Now they ignored him; they just didn’t care.
He shuffled his feet, gave one little bray
While they were intent on the babe in the hay.
The donkey, who wasn’t a bit overawed,
Kicked out his hind leg and two kings were floored.
That got their attention. Oh what a sight!
The gold was all spilled, the donkey took fright.
He pushed past the shepherds and stepped on a sheep,
Colliding with Joseph, who was almost asleep.
One shepherd let slip a lamb that he’d brought
Thus freeing his hands so the donkey was caught
By the tail, while trying to flee the scene,
When a chuckle went up from the manger unseen.
The stable fell silent, you’d hear a pin drop.
The donkey poked his head over the top
And there in the manger he saw by starlight,
The Christ child was gurgling in purest delight.
The donkey stopped struggling; the shepherd let go;
The baby stopped laughing – they do that, you know.
The donkey said “Hee haw” and pricked his large ears
And the chuckles that followed had Mary in tears.
When Joseph said “Sleep now,” the donkey lay down,
No longer disgruntled for he’d played the clown.
He’d brought his own gift to the Saviour’s birth.
He’d brought the child laughter, the best gift on earth.

Picture from – a Franciscan. St Francis is thought to have originated the crib.

A 50s KIND OF CHRISTMAS by Faymarie Morris

This is a true story, it was 1951 and my Dad was still dealing with happened to him at Dunkirk.
Christmas was coming so what should I write?
Should I try the theme of dark winter nights
And shorter days of capricious weather,
Or something lighter like being together?
Maybe I’d write of queues at the shops
Or what’s on the Tele, repeats, hits or flops
Or the price of food or the state of the world;
But while I was musing a thought occurred.
I’d write of a time I remember well
When I was just 5. A challenging spell.
I lived with my folks on a moorland farm
In a tiny cottage, not far from Yarm.
There wasn’t a penny to spare that year
So no tree or presents or festive cheer.
But Dad came up with a wonderful way
To make Yuletide special and keep his pay.
On Christmas Eve we set off for the woods
Bundled up warmly in hats, scarves and gloves
And gathered mistletoe, ivy, holly
And pine tree branches we piled on a trolley
Then dragged it home over crunchy white land
To Mum who had tea on the go which was grand.
We enjoyed our hot soup and decided to
Deck the house inside and outside, too.
On Christmas morning the snow had been falling 
All through the night and the cattle were calling,
But before Dad went off to feed the stock
They showed me something which came as a shock.
That year they said there’d be nothing for me,
They had no money and presents weren’t free.
But Santa had been and he’d left me a sledge
With shiny runners, the rest painted red.
So we struggled and hauled it up the hill
And each took turns coming down. What a thrill!!!
I remember we laughed and laughed ’til we cried
Each time Mum fell off, but at least she tried.
And the farmer had given my Dad some beef
For Christmas dinner, which was a relief.
The pantry was bare, there was nothing to eat
But bread and potatoes. No tasty treats.
It must have been so hard for Mum and Dad,
He’d been ill for a while. really quite bad
But they had to get by as best they could
‘Til things got better, as surely they would.
And it appeared my Dad found a wooden crate
At the side of the road, by the farm gate.
So he made me a sledge with burnished blades
And painted the wood a rich ruby shade.
This was the best Christmas I can recall.
We may not have had much, but we had it all.
War was behind us. The country was free
And we had each other, Mum, Dad and me.
By Faymarie Morris.  Nov. 2015

Christmas Acrostic by Michael Healy

For the Feast of Saint Nicholas (Santa Claus)


C the Carols we sing in celebration,

H the Holly to help our decorations.

R for the Reindeer who pull Santa’s sleigh

I is Ivy to go with the Holly, we say

S the sweet Sauce we pour over our pud

T the green fir Tree where our presents are stood

M for the Marzipan wrapped round our cake

A in our bed the night before, ah that is Awake!

S as we Sing on Christmas Eve.

D for the Day that we all should be pleased

A for All those in need of our help.

Y and so to Y, Yule Tide,

                        the old name for Christmas.

And a Merry Christmas Day to you All.

                                                            By   Michael Healy