I was taking my time at the old five and dime,
As I glanced at the newspaper rack.
There was a Santa's sleigh sighting and holiday fighting
And a recipe for "Christmas Eve Snack."
I looked in dismay at the worldly display,
And thought, "Oh, what a commercialized mess"
When a voice from behind inquired quite kind,
"So, tell me, are you ready for Christmas?"
I turned right around and what there I found,
Was a man of elderly years.
His hair was now thinning but his smile was winning,
Stretching wide to touch both his ears.
I said not a word, not sure what I'd heard,
And so left a silence between us.
With his smile in place, on his good-natured face,
He asked again, "Are you I ready for Christmas?"
I spoke of my shopping, and last-minute hopping,
Of my tree with its lights all aglow.
Of Christmas card greetings and holiday meetings,
And crowds wherever you go.
There was my family for dinner and wood for the winter,
And my brother coming in on the bus.
He listened quite well, as my tale I did tell,
Then asked, "But are you ready for Christmas?"
"You see now," he said with a tilt of his head,
"Christmas is much more you know.
It's God up above, who because of His love,
Came to earth His mercy to show.
It's on Him don't you see that our thoughts should all be,
And not on this holiday fuss.
It's not a gift or a part, but our mind and our heart,
That are needed to get ready for Christmas."
I nodded my head and to him I then said,
"It's true, the things that you say.
And too often I find that the things on my mind
Don't point to God or His way.
Now with that in mind, I think I'll go find
A place to ask God's forgiveness.
For it's come clear to me if I want Him with me.
It's about time I get ready for Christmas.
This poem won first place for the December 2021 poetry contest