Pat Edmiston is a missionary with Wycliffe Bible Translators currently serving in Papua, New Guinea. He provided this version of a familiar Christmas story from the perspective of an Alamblak village.
‘Twas the night before Christmas in every village and hut
The fires were burning, the doors were shut.
The net bags were hung from the rafters with care,
With spirits about one had to beware.
The children were nestled on mats on the floor,
Dreaming of legends, myths and folk lore.
While mother and father both crouched by the fire,
I sat back and thought of what had transpired.
For years we had spoken what to others was chatter,
But now we knew our words really mattered.
There were those who cared, who came to stay
To take the time to speak our way.
It was a wonder to us all when they appeared.
Where were they from? Why were they here?
With skin so fair and clothes so bright,
I knew the ancestors had seen our plight.
What could this mean we all wanted to know,
So we watched and waited for them to show.
And I was timid and shy and afraid,
But I ventured close by in hopes to be paid.
They lived in our village for months upon end.
I taught them our language and became their friend.
And soon we considered them one of our own,
Like a sister or brother they had grown.
In the evening I would go and sit by their side,
We would talk of God’s love which I yearned for inside.
In the months that passed, I came to know
The love of Christ they came to show.
Now in our own words we’ve begun to see
The written truths of eternity.
How Christ was born and lived and died,
Yet rose again to be by our side.
Tomorrow is not just another day
For us to hunt and work and play.
It’s Christmas now, the day Christ came to earth.
Now we know and can celebrate His birth.
– Patrick Edmiston