Sunday, December 24, 2006

The most wonderful time of the year

Christmas Eve is and always has been my favourite day of the year, a day of wonder and expectation, a day for wrapping presents and preparing good things to eat, a day for listening to Carols from Kings on the radio, and singing them in church and in Belper Market Square later tonight.

No matter how much they try to commercialise Christmas, or secularise it, or even just turn it into into a week-long food and drink fest punctuated by endless episodes of EastEnders, it will never, for me, lose its magic and spirituality.

So if anyone is visiting this blog today, it's time to stop thinking about politics, or even about England losing the Ashes, and start thinking about what it is that we are celebrating.

I leave you with the words of Thomas Hardy, who, in this short poem, summed up the meaning of Christmas better than I, or any other writer for that matter, could ever hope to do.

Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
"Now they are all on their knees,"
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearthside ease.

We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.

So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
"Come; see the oxen kneel

"In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
Our childhood used to know,"
I should go with him in the gloom,
Hoping it might be so.


Wishing you a Christmas full of wonder

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3 comments:

Turbulent Cleric said...

I love Christmas Eve although for me it feels like a day of non stop work.

Wishing you a truly wonderful Christmas.

david gladwin said...

Here's another:

THE DARKLING THRUSH

I leant upon a coppice gate
When Frost was spectre-grey,
And Winter's dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
Had sought their household fires.

The land's sharp features seemed to be
The Century's corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
Seemed fervourless as I.

At once a voice arose among
The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
Upon the growing gloom.

So little cause for carolings
Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
And I was unaware.

james higham said...

...So if anyone is visiting this blog today, it's time to stop thinking about politics, or even about England losing the Ashes, and start thinking about what it is that we are celebrating...

100% agree. Although the 'wonder' I could have done without - my computer crashed about midnight.