A National Service Night Before Christmas

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National Service
By: 
Greg Tucker

Santa's sleigh is pulled across a moonlit sky by eight tiny reindeer. Happy holidays from CNCS.

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the land,
AmeriCorps members were driving, in a basic white van.
But their stockings weren't hung; no, not with care.
They’re riding in a van, going to who knows where;

They had to be tired, many nodded their heads,
But when duty calls, everyone misses their beds,
This assignment was special, it came in a snap,
Santa needs help; grab your boots, grab your cap,

I looked out my window; wondering “What’s all the fuss?”
My wife and kids were sleeping, should I tell them to hush?
All these people in khakis, well branded with A’s,
But others came with them, I didn’t know what to say.

The snow was falling; I had just come home,
Three tours of duty; no more need to roam.
Christmas might miss us, but we had each other,
Here, just four of us gathered, along with my mother.

All of a sudden, an SUV tore ‘round the corner;
It stopped in our drive, out popped folks with hand warmers;
The front door flung open and who did appear;
It was CEO Wendy, in red CNCS gear.

She looked all around, like she had a plan,
Her team followed her lead, at a wave of her hand,
We had heard of her legend, who knew she was real?
She called out to her groups, with vigor and zeal!

“On NCCC and VISTA, FEMA bring your Corps,
Come on State and National, we need you, of course!
Senior Corps got here first, thanks to RSVP,
And Foster Grandparents brought gifts for the tree!”

There were Senior Companions, and folks from the SIF,
Making the holidays happier, they made it their gift!
"When Santa calls, we answer, each and every one,
Service is what we do, always ‘getting things done!’”

Just then on the roof, a commotion began,
Santa and eight tiny reindeer, found a nice spot to land.
He popped down the chimney, and appeared at the door,
"My elves can’t be here, I wish I had more.”

Then he saw National Service, just bunched in a pack,
They were all clad in boots, carrying whatever they could pack,
His eyes -- they twinkled, as a grin crossed his face,
“I’m glad that you’re here, let’s Christmas this place.”

He said, “They need toys, a tree -- make this home festive.”
But his new elves were so quick, he exclaimed, “That’s impressive!”
He sat for a moment, and let his belly sag,
His elves were slackers; some half in the bag,

“Wendy, can I borrow your elves just one night, for you see,
I would love the help of someone, who works even harder than me.”

She shook her head, and told Santa, “Tough luck”
America still needs us. Everyone --back to the trucks!”

I watched in amazement, dumbstruck, as everyone left,
They brought Christmas to us before we could catch one breath.
Everything was so sparkly, so merry, so bright,
It was hard to believe, it was done in one night.

We tell you this tale, to fill you with glee,
‘Cause we love people like you, who are not just about me.
National Service is awesome, just a wonderful sight,
Happy Holidays to all, and to all, a good night!

Poem inspired by "A Visit from St. Nicholas" by Clement Clarke Moore -- and all the members of the National Service family.

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