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“Surely you can come with me
I’ll take you to my place.
There Mary can lie comfortably,
It isn’t far away.
It’s not a home of luxury,
But you won’t need to pay
It’s a stable full of animals and hay.
Is that ok?
It’s a stable full of animals and hay.”

So with him Mary and Joseph went
Over a hill into the stable.
The Shepherd had several torches lit
And made a bed out of a table
And once the couple had settled in
And the Shepherd had helped them all he could
He went outside to count his sheep
But found he had more sheep than he should.
When counting and recounting them
Made their number neither greater nor lesser
He paused and noticed, on the ground,
There lay a large, peculiar, white feather.
Then another and another he saw
And following the feathers, like a trail
The trail of feathers led him to
One sheep with a timid tucked tail
“Oh, there you are, you stray lost sheep.
You are no sheep of mine.”
He then reached down to stroke its head
But wool, he did not find.
Wool he’d seen on every sheep,
Every other sheep he’d met.
However, where wool would be on this one,
Somehow feathers had grown instead.
As if to voice the shock he felt,
From within the stable issued forth Mary’s cry
And tearing his eyes away from the feathery sheep
The shepherd turned to go inside.
But even as he turned away
The sheep before him began to change
Into something not quite natural, something very strange.
It was as if the sheep had hidden folds unraveling,
Like layers peeling back and then again together gathering
“What are you strange sheep, if neither beast nor man you be?
I do not mean you any harm
If you mean no harm towards my friends, nor me.”
But even as the shepherd stood muttering astounded
He watched as the sheep then sprouted wings,
Which left him all the more confounded.
Then another and another wing
And then there came an ethereal light.
Swept with feeling overwhelmed
The shepherd knelt covering his eyes
For a moment he felt his heart would drown
Between the brightness of light and Mary’s cries.

It was a voice that filled his ears with a pleasant ringing.
Then opening his eyes he saw, it was an angel singing.

They looked up and saw a star
Shining in the East beyond them far
And to the earth it gave great light
And so it continued both day and night.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel!”

“The First Noel, the Angels did say
Was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay
In fields where they lay keeping their sheep
On a cold winter's night that was so deep.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel!

And through the hills their carol rang,
With the tones of mankind and angles blending,
The first sounds of Christmas cheer they sang
At our Christmas season’s first beginning
But this shepherd and angel weren’t the only ones
Who knew that on this very night
The couple within the stable had brought forth
The Messiah as prophesied
The Messiah, God in human flesh, who’d come
To set heaven and earth to rights.
In the hills, there were other wary eyes a’watching,
Eyes prowling, sneaking, scowling, and stalking.
Eyes of a wicked King
Who greeted Christ with defiance,
And This King with an evil serpent had made
An unholy alliance.
They knew Christ was coming
And both tried to deny it,
They knew Christ was coming,
And neither of them liked it.


from The First Ornaments of Christmas, released November 15, 2012



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The First Ornaments of Christmas Fayetteville, Arkansas

The First Ornaments of Christmas is a live multimedia project from the brain/hand/pen/voice of Rogers, AR resident Bryce Napier. A re-imagining of the Christmas story told through live music, narration, and animated footage, the project was performed in Northwest Arkansas in December 2011 and 2012. ... more

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