The Dairy Farmer's Christmas

By Jarom J. Petrich

The farmer’s day began before the morning sun’s first light,

But before he’d finished all his chores it was slipping into night.

It was Christmas Eve, so his wife and kids had laughed and trimmed the tree

Yet the farmer thought without much joy, what’s Christmas done for me?

That Christmas Eve he’d stayed up late to help a cow give birth

And as he trudged back to the house he laughed with little mirth.

A perfect calf was born that night, but as his luck would be,

God had got the gender ‘wrong’, instead it was a he.

He’d hoped for a Christmas present that would be a two for one.

A baby cow would grow the herd, but bulls, he wanted none.

A dairy farm has little use for a newborn Holstein bull,

And can ill afford to spare the milk to keep his belly full. 

He spoke aloud in mocking tones, “Now what a precious gift!”

Instead of feeling Christmas joy, all he felt was miffed.

“God ain't so good at giving gifts; why take the time to pray?

Ain’t like he cares ‘bout what I want or hears the words I say.”

He kicked his boots off at the door and tossed his woolen hat.

“It’s just a day, you whiskered stray!” he told the farmhouse cat.

The farmer’s children slept upstairs all snuggled in their beds,

So he crept real close and listened to their softly snoring heads.

Satisfied that his little flock wouldn’t wake until the morning, 

He took a seat beside the hearth and set his hands to warming.

But before too long he thought he heard a loud, insistent lowing

“What now?” he said as he cocked his head, frustration clearly showing.

His pa had often said, “A farmer’s work is never done,

You’ll find a shepherd watching sheep when sleep would be more fun.”

Now he wished he’d paid heed to his shepherd father’s words:

“There’s never a vacation when you care for flocks and herds.”

Resigned, he donned his boots once more and capped his weary head

And headed back out through the snow toward the birthing shed.

But when he poked his head inside, he stopped in awe and wonder,

As a voice rang out so loud it tore the silent night asunder.

“On this day long years ago was born The Christ, our Lord!”

Were the words that went right through him as if carried by a sword.

He looked up to see an Angel, and the Angel’s voice rose higher:

“He had no form or comeliness that we should Him desire!”

And then into the farmer’s mind there came a heavy thought:

“He was despised and rejected and the world esteemed him naught.”

Then quickly to his mind returned his thoughts from just that night

The calf wasn’t what he’d wanted; it was worthless in his sight.

The farmer fell upon his knees as heavenly angels soared

In a ring around the manger where the cattle’s feed was stored.

So he peeked into the feeding trough and thought that he could see

A perfect newborn baby boy that lay there peacefully.

“Surely, He hath borne our grief and carried all our sorrow;

All we, like sheep, may go astray though after Him we follow.”

The angel’s words were quiet now, and had a tone of wonder.

“The deepest pit, the darkest hole, our Lord descended under.

He can lift us from our sins and from our deep depressions,

heal our wounds, and broken hearts, and make clean our transgressions.

To His own, the Savior came but was mocked, and scorned, and taunted.”

The farmer bowed his head and said, “He wasn’t what they wanted.”

The heavens seemed to shift apart and from them choirs sang

About the Lord and Savior who was born in Bethlehem.

They sang of His devotion and His quiet, selfless giving;

His sacrifice and love for all, for people past and living.

And then the Angel spoke aloud the phrase he’d often heard:

“There’s never a vacation when you care for flocks and herds.”

The farmer now believed the truth he’d lost but always known,

As the words his father often spoke sank deep into his bones.

Then a vision of the Savior overwhelmed the farmer's soul.

“I gave my life that you might live; I gave my life for all.

Beneath a heavy load of sin you’ve often been encumbered,

But each lost sheep I’ll seek and find, for all my sheep are numbered.

This is my work and glory: The Eternal Life of man.”

He bent and offered tenderly His scarred, but gentle, hand.

And as the farmer gripped it, and felt the scars and holes,

The tears streaked down his weathered face as from the ground he rose.

The farmer bowed his weary head and said a humble prayer,

“Oh Lord, forgive my many sins, I’d always hoped that you were there.”

Clearly now he understood, the meaning of His words,

He was a lamb within His flock, a calf within His herd.

The vision gently faded as the farmer wept for joy.

He looked down on the manger where he’d seen the baby boy,

And considered something humbling as he spied the newborn calf: 

“Like a lamb toward the slaughter, Christ was led on my behalf.”

As he thought about Christ’s sacrifice the farmer wept anew,

His heart was light, his thoughts were bright as the house came into view.

He went upstairs and once again he stopped at every bed

 His heart filled clear to bursting by what he’d learned inside the shed.

He pondered his own meager loss of time and rest and fun;

How small it must appear to God, who gave His only Son.

As he thought about the love he had for his own boys and girl,

A quiet voice spoke to his soul - "For God So Loved The World."


brimcwho said…
Great job. Very beautiful.
B Berrett said…
love this poem. Thank you for sharing your talent
Jarom said…
Thanks Brian, I'm so glad you liked it! I also really appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment. Have a very Merry Christmas!
Jarom said…
I'm so happy you enjoyed it, have a Merry Christmas!
Unknown said…
This is beautiful! It moved me to tears. Thank you for sharing this!
Unknown said…
This is beautiful! It moved me to tears. Thank you for sharing this!
Jarom said…
That makes me so happy to hear, thank you!
Kristi Davey said…
Your writing is expressive, thought provoking, and conveys a depth of feeling that is both artistic and relatable. I hope you publish much more of your work as you are truly gifted! I absolutely love this!
Jarom said…
Thank you Kristi, I'm so happy that you enjoyed it! I will be publishing another poem on this same website in February. I look forward to having you read it!
Ether8 said…
Mr. Petrich, well done! This is beautiful. The Spirit speaks volumes through your inspired words.
farmersdotter said…
This poem is especially poignant to me as a dairy farmer's daughter. I know, I feel the truth of the sacrifice of caring for a herd. Relating it to God's sacrifice of his Son and the inestimable value of Jesus's sacrifice for us is truly touching, and a much needed reminder in the world today. Thank you for sharing!
Jarom said…
I am so grateful that you enjoyed the poem and even more so that you took the time to write such a lovely and supportive comment.
Jarom said…
Thank you for your comment and for sharing your wonderful perspective! I am so grateful that, even with the world being what it is today, so many of us can find comfort and support in sharing our thoughts and testimonies of the Savior with one another. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

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