Christmas Eve – A Poem

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The snow fell down,
It was cold outside;
The church was open,
The door he tried.

He stumbled in,
And shook off the cold;
“Anywhere but here!”
His voices were told.

On Christmas Eve,
Baby Jesus understood;
No crib for his bed,
He would pay if he could.

Who was he now?
Once the proud and the few;
He laid down his head,
And cuddled in a pew.

His old green jacket,
With numbers and stripes;
It made nice blanket,
Barely covering life’s gripes.

He had gone to kill the enemy,
And done a good job;
They took his soul,
Never knowing he was robbed.

As his eyes began to close,
He heard a young voice;
“You must be going,
You don’t have a choice.”

“Please let me lay here,
Please talk to the priest!
Just give me some charity,
I am not looking for a feast.”

“The Priest went home.
I stay here at night.
I guess you can stay.
God will make it alright.”

He sat up,
And looked towards the child;
A little Latin boy,
With a voice that was mild.

“Would you like some coffee?
Maybe some food?
You look hungry,
It would do you some good.”

“Oh dear boy,
Some coffee would be great.
I thought I would freeze,
Before I walked through your gate.”

The boy he left,
And returned with a tray;
Cookies decorated like angels,
Made a beautiful display.

He was silent as he ate,
In a most ferocious fashion;
The boy kept talking,
“Have you learned about the passion?”

“Oh silly boy,
Why do you stay here alone?
The things I have done,
You can’t expect to atone.”

“I came to this country,
From a country down south.
My name is Julio,
We had no food for our mouth.”

“We wandered in the snow,
We came upon this church;
With no where else to go,
We ended our search.”

“We were like you;
Desperate and sad;
Jesus provided,
Like he always had.”

The two of them sat talking,
Deep into the night;
The boy’s mother had died;
Something else that wasn’t right.

As the boy spoke of scripture,
The old soldier noticed his joy;
How could he be so wise;
But only be a small boy.

The boy said he had been watching,
And studying the priest;
Just ask for forgiveness,
It gives the most to the least.

The old soldier knelt down,
And started praying along;
He cried as he confessed,
No longer staying strong.

He felt the boy cover him,
With his dirty old coat;
He slipped into darkness,
And dreamed of Jesus walking next to his boat.

“Sir, wake up.”
“Did you sleep here all night?”
He stirred and sat up,
“The boy said it was alright.”

“What boy?”
The Priest inquired;
“The one that quotes scripture,
The one you inspired.”

“There is no boy like this;
At least not at this church;
What is this child’s name?
I promise we will search.”

“He said he came here;
Last Christmas Eve;
His name is Julio;
You didn’t make him leave.”

The priest looked startled;
Took some time to react;
“Julio died last year,
A very sad fact.”

“We found he and his mother,
Huddled in the snow;
The Church it was locked;
They had no where to go.”

I tell you he spoke to me;
I tell you he was here;
He told me I was saved,
It all seemed so clear.

“When I gave Julio his last rights,
I told him he could stay.
That the Church would remain open,
For those who would stray.”

The Priest hugged the soldier,
Told him that he was forgiven.
Told him he was welcome,
But God asks for submission.

The soldier got up,
And started to smile;
Forgot what it felt like,
It had been a while.

As he began to walk from the church,
He turned around and prayed,
“Merry Christmas Julio,
My life you have saved.”

C. David Durkee

C. David Durkee is the author of the book of poetry, The Broken Poet.