Gift Beyond Measure

I know, I know, it’s still September. Far too early to mention the ‘C’ word, but I’m going to anyway.

Christmas is coming. There, I said it.

To comfort you in your distress, here is a lovely Christmas resource for you. It’s a book by a fellow-member of the ACW (Association of Christian Writers), which you might find useful in your Christmas prep.

Howard Webber is a retired Salvation Army minister and his new book, Gift Beyond Measure, is a treasury of original poems for Christmas.

It is being published on October 1st, and will be available as paperback and kindle from Amazon, Christian & secular bookshops, and from the author himself.

In the preface, Howard explains how the book came about.

“Having been unable to find Christmas cards that convey a clear message of what Christmas is about, I commenced writing pieces of poetry each year for the cards that I then created. Through the years many recipients commented that I ought to publish them together in a book.”

Many poems focus on the mystery of God in our world, contrasting the majesty of heaven with the dust and dirt of the manger. There are down to earth and accessible, relating the timeless story to our lives in the busyness and bustle of the season.

There are poems from different points of view, including a school nativity play, Joseph’s reaction to Mary, and the Lamb of God become shepherd.

Several poems remind us that the child born at Christmas is the Lord who would die at Easter.

A slim 83 pages, and enhanced with thoughtful calligraphic illustrations, you could use these as Advent reflections, read one out in a service (contact the author for permission) or give the book as a gift.

Here are a couple of my favourites.

If Only

I wish I’d known what I know now,
I could have known it then.
For I was there when he was born,
I lived in Bethlehem.

I’d heard of an unmarried girl,
Arriving nine months gone,
And how there was no room for her
To have her little one.

I’d heard she had a little boy,
and laid him in a trough.
I wish now that I’d offered help,
I’d heard they weren’t well off.

But like so many in that town,
I kept myself away
Except to moan about the noise
When shepherds came one day.

If only I had realised
Who lay there in that shed,
I would have opened up my home
And given him my bed.

(c) 2021 Howard Webber. Reproduced with permission.

The School Nativity

Boys in dressing gowns surrounded the manger;
Dolly wrapped in tea towel in the straw;
Girls with plastic wings
Picks her nose and loudly sings
As a wise man drops his myrrh upon the floor.

The village crowd into this school performance;
Parents  smile whist teachers start to flap,
as Mary fails to say
Lines she’s practiced every day,
and her brother shouts, to prompt her, from the back.

We find these school nativities amusing,
The things they do, the way they get things wrong.
yet what we fail to see
Is the script for you and me
That’s been waiting our attention for so long.

So when your splitting slide are sore with laughter,
Recovering, while they sing Silent Night,
Remember, in the hay
Lies the one who wrote the play,
Who is waiting, still, for us to get it right!

(c) 2021 Howard Webber. Reproduced with permission.

To recap: Available from Amazon or your local favourite bookshop from October 1st, or directly from the author. Signed copied available on request.

Here’s Howard introducing his book.

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