A Visit from Saint John of Wesley (An Adaption of “The Night Before Christmas”)

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An adaptation of Clement Clarke Moore’s “A Visit from Saint Nicholas”

A Visit from Saint John of Wesley

Twas the Night before Christmas, When all through the church
Not a Heretic was stirring, gone from their perch;
The stockings were hung, the fireplace was bare;
In the hope that Saint John would soon be there;
The Puritans were nestled all snug in their beliefs,
With visions of Asbury singing so sweet;
And Mama in her gender role and I in my miter,
Had just settled an argument to see who was righter.
When I said Whitfield, not Calvin, there came loud clatter;
I sprang from my knees, to see what was the matter;
Away to the window, not wanting to seem rash;
For dignified Methodists are rarely ones to dash;
The moon shone bright on the convoy below;
It looked like moving day, except in the snow.
What to my laser corrected eyes appeared;
But a horse riding preacher with a goatee beard;
A little old rider, so short and testy;
I knew in a moment it was Saint John of Wesley;
More rapid than angels his praise band came;
And as he whistled, he introduced their names;
“Now Perfection! Now, Sanctification! Now Traditional Marriage!
On Discipline! On Covenant and on Inerrant!
To the top of the Conference, please heed my call;
If you disagree, dash away, dash away, all;
As I drew in my head and turned around;
Down the chimney, St. Wesley fell without a sound.
He was dressed in black, from his head to his feet;
And his face was a clean as a chimney sweep’s;
Books of Discipline were bundled on his back;
And he looked like a salesman, opening his pack,
His eyes, how they stared, like they could not care;
I already owned a Discipline and didn’t need a spare;
Nor did I need St. John of Wesley to pray for my soul;
My feet and head were already cold;
And I laughed when I saw him, despite myself;
For this reforming Englishman was no jolly elf,
With a wink of his eye and a page from his Bible,
He offered me a Covenant that promised revival;
I looked, thought, and ran words through my head;
No, I wouldn’t sign, this gave me too much dread;
He spoke not a word and left me for other work;
“I can’t do this Saint John, I see no real perks;”
And with no adieu, he gave the band a whistle;
And away they flew like an evangelical missile.
But I heard him exclaim, as he rode out sight;
Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Night!

Richard Bryant

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