A Different Kind of Christmas… “If Bethlehem Was on the Bayou”

Imagine, if you will, that Bethlehem had been located on the bayou in Southern Louisiana. Let’s celebrate the birth of Jesus today the way it might have been

De Bayou was cold, and de weather was hard,
And de Hound dogs an’ animals lay in the yard;
De crickets was chirpin’, an’ de bullfrogs dey sing,
Never suspecting the birth of a king.
From a beat-up pirogue stepped old Joseph an’ Mary,
And she was so pregnant dat, Man, it was scary!
At ol’ Thibodeaux’s Inn Dey knock on de do’,
But he said, “Dey’s no room, not even on de flo’.”
They turned, disappointed, But Thibodeaux said:
Jes’ wait you a moment—you can sleep in de shed!”
So Mary an’ Joseph went roun’ to the back,
Where they made up a bed in ol’ Thibodeaux’s shack.

Now, out on the bayou, some fishermen sat,
When dey saw such a bright light, dey wondered where dey at!
For, high up above them at the top of the trees,
Dey saw such a sight, dat dey fall on dere knees!
Ol’ Gaston, he say, “Whew—boy! I must be dyin’!
For over the Bayou, dose Angels be flyin’!”
“Fear not!” Said de Angels, “For we just came to say
Dat Jesus the king will be born here today!

Go to Thibodeaux’s Inn, aroun’ to de back,
And you’ll find the baby, asleep in de shack.”
So those fishermen pulled in their nets an’ their bugs,
And put up their line, an’ put down their jugs,
An’ paddled on over towards Thibodeaux’s place,
Where they could encounter de King face to face.

Now, meanwhile, dis same night, on de far side of town,
The three Chutney sisters had just settled down.
Now, the oldest was Grace, and the youngest was Sue,
An’ Evangeline, she was de middle one, too!
They all settled down for a midwinter’s sleep,
An’ were driftin’ off down where de slumber is deep,
When an angel appeared, and said, “Get outta bed,
And shake all dose cobwebs right outta your head!
Go out to de yard, an’ look high an’ look far,
And search de night sky for a bright shining star.

Jus’ you follow dat star all de way across town,
An’ you’ll find a place where a baby lays down,
In the shack in the back of ol’ Thibodeaux’s Inn…
An’ dis baby will save us from all of our sin!
So get up! Get a move on! An’ Give God the glory;
Go honor dat baby! An’ tell men the story
Of the fact God is with us!” Then dose angels left, blazin’!
An’ then said her sisters an’ Grace: “That’s amazing!”

So the Chutney girls went out and followed the star,
till it led them downtown past Jerome’s grill & bar,
Till they came on to Thibodeaux’s , where dey saw the sight
Of the newborn king, who was just born dat night…
The fishermen came and had gathered around,
Just watchin’ the baby; no one made a sound,
Not even the houn’ dorgs who sat still & quiet:
Dis must be de king! Why, how could they deny it?

So up walked the Chutneys; in a straight line they filed
To the star that now rested right over the child;
Then Grace spoke up quietly: “I t’ink dat maybe
We ought to deliver our gifts to de baby.
We’re po’, but we brought out a couple of things,
That might help us worship the new king of kings.”

So Sue stepped on up, with a smile soft an’ sweet,
And she lay her best coat at the new baby’s feet.
She said, “Mary, I know that like me, you are broke,
So I hope you can use this as some kinda cloak,
That will give you some cover and keep you from harm,
And help you to keep our new king safe and warm.”

Evangeline came to de crib in de room,
And she said, “I have only my bestest perfume,
But I offer its fragrance, and hope it is able
To cover the smell of this musty old stable.”
And, finally, Grace said: “I feel sorry and sad
That we only can give him what little we had,
For I know that a king should have wealth—so I’m told,
And that Jesus deserves to be showered with gold.
So I give you this gift, and it makes me quite happy,
To give you dis watch that belonged to my pappy.”

As she lay the gold watch at the feet of the child,
Miss Chutney believed for a moment he smiled;
And the angels appeared, an’ were singing again:
“Let’s have peace on the earth, an’ Good will toward men!”
Gaston and his friends, they hitched up their pants,
and they grabbed all the Chutneys and’ started to dance!
Then they ran through the town, and they sounded dey horn,
And dey tol’ ev’ry body dat Jesus was born!

From den on, all the Chutneys and fishermen said
They could never forget what was put in dere head,
Dat a king would be born, an’ his work would begin,
That would save ever body from all of dere sin.
After the Chutneys and Gaston had came,
De t’ings on the Bayou could not be the same.
An’ dat was the very first Christmas dat day,
Which caused all the folks on the Bayou to say,
From then on, “Laissez les Bon temps rouler!”
They said it back then, and they say it today!

Well, friend… What about you when you hear of dis story,
Do you know of dis child? Do you know of his glory?
Can you hear what the angels proclaim as they sing?
Do you bring all you have to the feet of the king?
May you follow de star; may its light draw you near,
And may Christmas live in you t’roughout the whole year:
As you gaze on the child: as you look on his face,
May you say with Gaston: “That’s amazing, Grace.”

Copyright ©1997 by Bo Jackson
All rights reserved

To buy my latest book, Real People, Real Christmas: Thirty-one Days Discovering the Hidden Treasures of the Christmas Story, go here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1729034918/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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