Twas the Evening of Christmas: Book Review

  • Twas the Evening of Christmas
  • By Glenys Nellist
  • Illustrated by Elena Selivanova
  • Published by Zonderkidz
  • Copyright 2017, 32 pages; ages 4-8

With its scripture reference being Luke 2:10-11, “Twas the Evening of Christmas” blends the over-2,000-year-old story of Jesus’s birth with the poetic cadence of the poem by Clement C. Moore, “A Visit From St. Nicholas,” originally published in 1823.

One is an endearing rhyme about a fictional Christmas event. In this book, however, families can gather and read the true story of Christmas and why we even celebrate.

Nellist’s poem keeps the rhythm of Moore’s work intact while being true to the story of Joseph and Mary in Bethlehem.

No one is left out here. The animals in the stable; the angels; the shepherds; and the wise men all make their respective appearances.

A couple of things about this poem/story give it high marks in my book. While license is taken a couple of times, that’s okay. We can read between the lines and figure out some things about that night. For instance, the baby has been born and offered up his newborn cry.

“Up jumped the cows, and the oxen and sheep.

Up popped the pigeons, aroused from their sleep.

They all came to gaze at the small baby boy,

As his mama and papa hugged him with joy.”

Scripture doesn’t mention Joseph and Mary hugging their baby. But what new parents don’t want to put their hands around their infant and hold him close?

In addition, the author and illustrator seemingly desire to share the stories of God and about God in a way that glorifies God with their respective gifts. Kids in the intended audience will probably want to touch the pages because the illustrations aren’t too intricate, but aren’t too simplistic. The word ‘soft’ comes to mind. They’re works of art, creatively executed by people who obviously appreciate their Creator.

I’d guess this book, once read to a child, will be as popular with them as that ‘right jolly old elf’ poem was for me so many years ago.

You can find the book for sale at the publisher, Zondervan or on Amazon.

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You Walk With Jesus

Once upon a time, there was a pastor who influenced me in ways I don’t think he was aware of. I considered him a model of one who walked with God as Enoch did. Naturally, this fellow was humble as well, and if he knew I was saying that about him, he’d sternly correct me.

Nevertheless, I saw him as an unofficial mentor.

Is there someone in your life who models a walk with Jesus? If so, what does that look like? Poetry isn’t my strong suit. Nevertheless, this is a small tribute to my friend and pastor.

You Walk With Jesus

I have watched you
walk with the winsomeness
possessed in you that
unknowingly also owns power.

There’s a place deep inside
where you don’t look–
having no need to–
that teaches your body
to follow the Spirit.

God’s Spirit guides your spirit
with a quiet, cherished purpose.
It seems that in each stride
you claim a mile.

 

copyright 2017 Paula Geister

Where Are YOU From?

Several years ago, I took on a writing challenge to create a poem from a template with the resulting work informing readers about myself and my family history. This is the result, a poem I had the privilege of reading at my father’s funeral. I regret he never had the opportunity to read it before he passed away. But then, Dad also knew where he was from.

Where are you from?

 

Heritage

I am from buttered bread

sometimes with Welch’s jam.

I am from the hand pump on the back porch

that spewed out ice-cold water

and you weren’t really thirsty

but you had to take

your Saturday night bath.

I am from the lily of the valley

growing under the lilac bushes,

the scent sucked in just before

you gave them to Mama

who loved them more than you.

I am from Sunday morning nip and tuck.

Dawdling ‘round from Uncle Bud,

cousin Toad and his counterpart, the Frog.

I am from the way we tease and laugh out loud.

From “Stop that squirming”

and “Bow your head.”

I am from a Bible Mama plum wore out.

From Daddy’s faithful Christmas and Easter Sabbaths.

I’m from the middle of a little bitty place

and a rich Christian heritage

across the Rhine River in Germany.

From fried chicken. And apple pie

in a bowl with milk poured on.

From the toddler who drank fuel oil

putting scare into us all;

a vision of stomach pumps not quite real.

From the backyard wedding of my sister

and a reception in the woods where we

ate picnic style licking barbecue from our fingers.

I am from the tattered black pages of an album

Dad pulls out on his little whims.

Repeating names I’ve heard a thousand times

but won’t remember, he tells me I am from

these folks of buttered bread, hand pumps,

laugh out loud, and worn out Bibles.

 

copyright by Paula Geister 2005

Stars Shine in Sunshine

A fellow blogger has offered a writing challenge. Bukkypraiz has requested we write a haiku poem.

Haiku is a Japanese style of poetry with strict forms. While there are other ways to write a haiku, this form is most recognizable and popular. Three lines in which the first line has five syllables; second line, seven syllables; and third line, five syllables.

Haiku poetry most often is distinguished by appealing to the senses. They create a word picture and are written in the present tense. Here is my offering for the challenge, which required using the word “Shine.”

big and little dippers

Stars Shine in Sunshine

Stars come out at night

but also shine secretly

concealed by sunlight.

Here’s a bonus haiku of mine written many years ago.

River Talk

Slow river murmurs

secrets to the shore, and in

the reeds it giggles.

Ode To A Wintry Day

I offered this post earlier this year when WordPress prompted us to write an ode to someone or something we love. (Extra points if it was poetry!) I happen to love the way snow falls and lies like a blanket on open fields. I’ve seen snow fall so heavily it seems to be sugar-coating the rows and rows of pines in that open field.

So here’s the poem I wrote years ago to describe what I saw. It seems especially appropriate since today is the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere.

Snow Man
By Paula Geister

Step by step, a monstrous form
All arms and legs and head,
Takes his silent walk to the woods
To rest a bit, to find a bed.

The hulk takes giant steps tonightSnow covered forest of pine trees
On creaking snow like Styrofoam.
His breath is frozen in his beard,
But he presses on toward home.

Winter’s king all alone, he takes
The gloom from shrouded nights.
Stepping into the woods, he makes
The trees absorb his light.

River Language

The elements for today’s Writing 201 poetry assignment:

  • ‘Water’ as the prompt
  • Haiku as the form
  • Simile as the device

Haiku takes several forms, with each form defined by how many lines it contains and how many syllables are in each line. This poem takes the three-line 5-7-5 form. I chose a river because I’ve always enjoyed the experience of watching and listening to the movement of a river, whether large or small. There is no obvious simile in this poem.

shot-of-reeds-growing-in-water-1

 

 

River Language

Slow river murmurs

secrets to the shore, and in

the reeds, it giggles

 

“P” Is For Poetry

“The Fruitful Life” has evolved since I began in August last year. It’s bound to see more changes. My basic purpose is still the same. I’m simply finding different ways to use the blog to express myself.

I’m participating in Writing 201 on WordPress for the next two weeks and that means I may be posting from their poetry writing prompts. My first was posted on the 14th with “Snow Man” (Ode On A Wintry Day). So along with the regular postings–however those are defined–and Features for Fridays, I’m trekking back in time to when I wrote poetry in college.

Letter P w-scrolling One or two of the poems might be considered of good quality. Then again, quality is probably relative to whomever is reading the material.

If poetry isn’t your thing, that’s okay. I won’t take it personally. But it is another way to express myself. And who knows, one of my efforts might relate to my spiritual journey.

Since God is creative and He blessed each of us with a unique creativity, I encourage you to take the next two weeks and explore your talents in some new way as well. I’m a writer (and a talker) so my passion is to communicate ideas, information, encouragement and personal experiences. Sometimes those things spill out as sharing the gospel or an observation from God’s word.

Also, people say I’m a natural storyteller. (Hence, the “talker.”) Maybe I’ll get to write a poem in story form. As a writer, I have days when I feel wiped out of ideas. WordPress’ Blogging University could fill in some of those gaps for me in the next two weeks.

I just hope they don’t assign any limericks about frogs.