When I was putting together Christmas programs for school, every once in awhile I would do what I called my Silver and Gold program. This program was usually one that combined all the grades, 1st through 5th. We only did that program in the afternoon, during school hours, because the auditorium wouldn't hold all of the parents that would come in the evening. Sadly, that meant that very few of the parents actually got to see it, the best program of them all. But the kids saw it, saw what it was like to work together with a large group, each small part adding into the whole to make something amazingly beautiful.
The Silver and Gold program always included these two poems, which are two of my favorites. The first one, the most difficult, always went to the oldest child whom I trusted to work hard on committing the entire piece to memory. They never let me down and I wept every time they spoke the words. The author of this beauty is unknown.
"Whosever, on the night of the Nativity of the young Lord Jesus,
in the great snows, shall fare forth
bearing a succulent bone for the lost and lamenting hound,
a wisp of hay for the shivering horse,
a cloak of warm raiment for the stranded wayfarer,
and diverse, lush sweetmeats for such babes faces
as peer from lonely windows,
to him shall be proffered and returned
such an astonishment as will rival the hues
of the peacock and the harmonies of heaven,
so that though he live to the great age
when man goes stooping and querulous
because of the nothing that is in him,
yet shall he walk upright, and remembering,
as one whose heart shines like a great star in his breast."
The second poem was sometimes recited by the entire group of singers, sometimes as a choral reading, and sometimes I spoke the words myself, to the audience and the children at the very end of the show. It is a simple piece but the words are good ones to set into the mind of a child. Perhaps you have children who could begin to work on this piece during this Christmas vacation when they say they have nothing to do.
"When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home
and the shepherds are back with their flocks,
the work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among brothers,
To make music in the heart."
~by Howard Thurman