‘Twas the night before Mennonite Christmas, when all through the house
Not a Penner was stirring, not even Uncle Klaus;
The tutjes were all eaten, the halva was all gone,
I was lying next to Martha wearing my favourite long johns.
The tjinja were nestled all snug in one bed,
While visions of plumemoos danced in their heads,
And Martha in her duak, and me filled with hope,
Of a quick Christmas snuggle on this long winter’s schlop.
When out on the yard there arose such a melee,
That I sprang from the bed; “Waut es mit die!”
To the Loewen window I flew at a furious pace,
With Martha at my side wearing nothing but lace.
The moon lit up the scene, as I opened the curtain,
Who might it be? I sure was not certain.
When, what to my Mennonite eyes did appear,
Eight tiny church elders dressed in winter gear.
With a little old man, standing square in our lawn,
This man, I assumed, must be Pastor Krahn.
In English he yelled and in Dietsch just the same,
He whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
“Now, REIMER! now, KLASSEN! now, THIESSEN and EPP!
On, BROESKY! on BERGEN! on, MARTENS and LEPP!
To the top of the roof! and in through the door!
If we have to, we’ll drill a hole in the floor!”
They peered in our windows, self-righteous and loud,
They were looking for presents that were not allowed.
“What’s this I see? A TV set?”
A radio, a pool table, an Elvis cassette?”
They took all the things that they thought were wrong,
They took them while smiling and singing a song.
“Throw it in here! That goes in my sack!”
“An electric guitar? You aren’t getting this back!”
Pastor Krahn seemed quite pleased and scratched at his belly,
That shook like a salad made of whipped cream and jelly.
They were about to escape with our toys and our rings,
They had all our names; they had all our things.
When Martha approached, and started to sing,
“Silent Night, Holy Night”; her voice fit for a king.
She sang all three verses and another in German,
The elders uneasy; she sure had them squirmin’.
A crowd soon had gathered and joined her in song,
“We won’t let them tell us what’s right and what’s wrong.”
We sang and we prayed and we grabbed back our toys,
That we wrapped up again for our girls and our boys.
The elders stood around and admitted defeat,
“Let’s sing that again; the melody’s sweet.”
Pastor Krahn was now standing all on his alone.
“Well, I suppose, a pool table is okay in the home.”
He sprang to his sleigh, with his elders in tow,
“Mrs. Penner’s in charge now; as for us, we must go.”
And I heard him exclaim, as he drove out of sight,
HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD-NIGHT!