The Common Good

'Twas a Week Before Christmas: A D.C. Holiday Poem

'Twas a week before Christmas, and all through my city
Politicians were scrambl'n, it wasn't very pretty.
Health care and climate were up in the air,
But try as Reid might, the votes just weren't there.

The pols were all dug in, snug in their stances,
Yet more voters cared to watch Tom Delay's dances!
Tea party protestors were on message and mad,
With poor families suffering, the partisan bickering was sad.

FOX News was lambasting, O'Reilly cried foul,
Palin and Limbaugh continued to howl:
"Obama, the Muslim, will take Christmas away.
He's destroying our country, and he'll make your kids gay."

And so in this environ, I concluded my year,
Desperately searching for some true Christmas cheer.
What I got was a perk of winning, which came to my door,
An embossed White House invite, to their holiday tour.

"For you and a guest," the invite did read,
So I called up a friend, and she followed my lead.
With spirits renewed, we headed into the cold,
Then my Blackberry buzzed, with further instructions in bold:

"The Secret Service requires much, we're sorry to say,
So bring your social, a picture, and no aerosol spray.
Plus, the delays may be long, security's tight,
That reality couple last month really they gave us a fright."

The Metro was slow, but we arrived at the gate,
Hoping and praying that we were not too late.
The cop looked us over, he patted me down,
"Let me see your ID," he said with a frown.

As we walked through the gate, angry protestors came by,
And with worries and fears returning, I let out a sigh.
How easy it is, to lose track of what counts,
When the pressures and uncertainty of politics continue to mount.

Now the White House is hardly a manger with hay,
But what happened next gave me hope on that pre-Christmas day.
You see, as I started to walk and wander around,
Off in the distance, I heard the most beautiful sound.

Just down the hall was a glorious chorus,
Singing of Bethlehem's star, and God's perfect love for us.
Then I turned to my friend and started to tell her,
"You know, I think that singer up there's my first cousin Keller!"

Up from Carolina he'd come, a trip with his school.
What were the odds he'd be here today? Wasn't it cool?
That we'd meet in the White House after a year gone apart,
And he'd be singing of joy and of hope, with all of his heart?

And then it all hit me at once, it became clear as a bell,
A truth for this Season, upon which we should dwell.
Humans will struggle; we'll fight and we'll moan.
The poor will be with us; the suffering will groan.

But we all have been promised, that's not how the story will end.
And so each Christmas we celebrate, with family and friends
A child in a manger, and peace on this earth
As we join those whom we love, to remember Christ's birth.

So good tidings to all. I wish you hope and good cheer,
As we await this coming Christmas, and a bright, hopeful new year!

Eric Sapp is the executive director of the American Values Network.

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