Jaroslav Čermák (1831-1878), “St. Nicholas”
St. Nicholas Speaks, Love's Pure Light, Shepherds’ Carol
I'd like to present my semi-historical poem about St. Nicholas (2012), another one of mine from 2001, that’s almost like a mini-catechism, and Shepherds’ Carol (2010).
St. Nicholas Speaks
My name is St. Nicholas; and from the 4th century I do hail;
I was Bishop of Myra, on the southwestern coast of Turkey.
I spent time in the Holy Land, and also in Diocletian's jails;
Fought the Arian heretics at Nicaea, but my history is murky.
I was most known for helping the poor, under cover of night;
Dropping gifts down a chimney, landing in stockings drying.
I loved children and sailors: by grace aiding all whom I might;
Once multiplied wheat, to save many in a famine from dying.
My feast day is December 6th: the day I departed this earth;
My relics still exude sweet myrrh-like rose water every year.
Christians around the world celebrate the day with great mirth;
Lots of stories of my life, young and old alike do annually hear.
I was named Nikolaos the Wonderworker due to many prayers
Answered often through my intercession, with miracles as well.
The Dutch called me Sinterklaas, adding on legends by layers;
They say I leave coins in wooden shoes; maybe so: I won't tell!
The tales and fables grew through the centuries, far and wide;
Mostly in the countries where German and English are spoken.
As Christkindl or Kris Kringle: to Jesus' holy name I was tied;
Now I'm often called Santa Claus: in long tradition unbroken.
In America my legend, through Washington Irving and others,
Spread in folklore, "Twas the night before Christmas," and such.
Thomas Nast drew me as a jolly old soul, of all men a brother;
Of reindeer, North Pole, red suits, and elves were heard much.
At length, the fables became so secular, commercial, and obscure
That their initially Christian contents became shallow and hidden.
It's not Santa who sees all and rewards children good and pure;
But God the Father: the source of all graces and gifts we're given.
Jesus dying for us gave life such deep meaning and hope;
I am His messenger, spreading His gospel of salvation and peace.
Without His sustaining power and love, none of us could cope;
This joy of Christmas, till the end of the world will never cease.
Love’s Pure Light, Burning Bright
Love’s pure Light, burning Bright, [Ps 89:15]
Crowning Creation, beginning of Story. [Gen 1:3]
Banishing darkness, cold, and Night, [Gen 1:4]
Skies and mountains bespeak His Glory. [Rom 1:20]
Love’s pure Light, what a sight! [1 Tim 6:16]
Shekinah cloud hovering high. [Ex 13:21]
Above the Temple, Jerusalem’s height, [1 Kings 8:10-11]
God’s presence, comforting, ever nigh. [Jer 31:33-34]
REDEMPTION FROM SIN
Love’s pure Light, cast away fright, [Lk 2:8-10]
God/Child trembling in the hay-filled cave. [Lk 2:11-14]
From Bethlehem’s star, receives heavenly Light, [Mt 2:9-11]
Fallen souls, weak bodies, came He to Save. [Jn 3:16-18]
Love’s pure Light, shows His might, [Jn 3:19-21]
Transfiguration’s wonders, disciples see. [Lk 9:29,32]
Elijah, Moses, Peter, John in twilight, [Lk 9:28,30-31,33-34]
Glimpse Afterlife’s marvels to be. [Phil 3:20-21]
Love’s pure Light, burning Bright, [Jn 8:12]
Conquering death, and Satan’s Ploy. [Rom 6:3-14]
Jesus Rising, vanquish’d man’s Plight, [Acts 1:3]
Guard soldiers dazed, scattered like toys. [Mt 28:1-4]
Love’s pure Light, what a sight! [Jn 1:4-5,9]
Disciples, Mary pray in the Upper Room. [Acts 1:12-14]
For each one a Fiery Spirit tonight, [Acts 2:1-4]
Causing to flee doubt, fear, and gloom. [Jn 14:27-29]
REDEMPTION FROM WEAKNESS
Love’s pure Light, cast away fright, [Mt 5:14-16]
Holy Spirit each believer to Dwell, [Jn 14:15-26]
Power, Grace, Peace for all Contrite, [Phil 4:13]
Exceeds, defeats temptations from Hell. [James 4:7]
Love’s pure Light, shows His might, [Rev 22:5]
Magnificent Almighty, Reigns on His Throne. [Rev 4:2-6]
Redeemed multitude Worships, Delights, [Rev 7:13-17]
Heaven’s Ecstatic Joy forevermore Shone. [Rev 21:1-27]
[see Luke 2:8-20]
It was like any other evening, in the fields, watching our sheep,
Making sure no predators or reckless thieves harmed our flocks.
Our task was to ensure their safety: health, well-being to keep,
Feeding and protecting them from pits, thorns, and jagged rocks.
All of a sudden, lo, an angel! and the glory of the Lord all round,
The darkness became as day, with radiant beams glowing bright.
Fearing for our lives, yet somehow still secure, safe, and sound,
We listened intently to the heavenly messenger on that holy night.
Telling us to not be afraid, then happily proclaiming the good news,
The angel spoke of great joy to come, for all people, from every land.
Referring to a marvelous savior, enabling all God’s people to choose,
Salvation in the city of David; who ever heard of anything so grand!
The angel foretold a sign: a baby all wrapped up, lying in a manger,
Messiah and Lord! God’s ways and means ever mysterious and new.
People coming from all around, to worship: friend, cousin, stranger,
Triumphant message spreading far and wide, and excitement grew.
Before we knew it, heavenly hosts appeared, praising the Lord on high,
Singing “glory to God” & “peace and good will to men” loud and clear.
We were dazed and stood there enthralled at the majestic celestial cry,
Pondering what we had just seen and what our ears did indeed hear.
Someone said, “let’s run and observe this wonder with our own eyes!”
Traveling over the hills, we found the holy family, just as we were told.
We shared with all present the words of the luminous choir in the skies,
Astounding everyone with angelic stories & fulfilled prophecies of old.
Mary, blessed mother of the savior, gave us a knowing and tender look,
She was deep in thought, contemplating how God could come to earth.
We left filled with joy, spreading words from angels & the sacred book,
Praising, glorifying God & sharing all we’d heard about the holy birth.