‘Twas the Eve of the Youth Gathering”
Adapted from A Visit from St. Nicholas by Clement Clarke Moore
by Mary Ann Stephens
‘Twas the eve of the Youth Gathering, when all through God’s house
All the creatures were stirring, even this church mouse;
The early birds had chosen seats that were prime,
In hopes that the service would start in good time;
The candles were lit and the A/C turned on;
People grabbed bulletins before they were gone;
And mamma in her new dress, and I in my wrap,
Had just settled in for a sermon-length nap,
When out in the narthex there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my pew to see what was the matter.
“What happened to your hair”; “it’s purple” they cried;
I rushed even closer to see what they’d spied.
The light from the new bulbs (thanks Tuesday Crew),
Was sure to provide me with some sort of clue,
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But a purple-haired man decked out in pastor’s gear.
Looking beyond the strange dye job and maybe a trim
I knew in a moment that he was our Pastor Jim.
Less rapid than slugs, the Luther Leaguers came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
“Now, Shers! now, Ciminos! now Burns girls and Robbie!
On, Nick V.! on, Kennys on, Krista and Gracie!
Hey Cat, Kyle and Jason! Hey Emma and Katelyn!
Hey Christopher! Hey Sean, Hey Alex and Kaitlyn!”
As the parishioners continued to enter,
They remarked on the hair of the man in the center;
One man said, “I just thought it would be much darker.”
But it was done by a pro not with a marker.
And then a woman entered not saying a word
Rubbing her eyes as she passed him, sure they were blurred.
“Now you know how I feel, dye jobs on my hair,”
One told him, “Every six weeks in my stylist’s chair.”
He dressed like a pastor, from his head to his toes,
And his hair was so purple it just needed bows.
His new hair color was a gift to our kids;
He allowed us to choose his new “do” with bids.
People dropped their spare change in cups labeled “bald”;
Siblings in one family said they had brawled.
His distinguished moustache he offered to shave,
If the road to Houston the coins would help pave.
As the youth of the church gathered for a farewell,
One spirited red-head entered looking unwell;
She took one look at the purple locks of hair
“Oh H-E-double L, No!” she cried in despair!
“I put my life’s savings in that darn red cup
Now his hair’s purple, people, c’mon what’s up?”
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know there was nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word to her but gave her a smile;
For the love of our youth he went that extra mile.
And just two weeks later, upon their return,
The youth told us stories of their great sojourn;
They had seen other Lutherans all in one place
And learned for themselves of God’s Love and God’s Grace!
And I heard them exclaim, above the applauding–
“Our many thanks to all, this changes everything!”