Christmas Poems

Christmas Poems

Editor’s note: Merry Christmas from the Charlotte Mason Poetry team! Today we have something special to help focus your attention on Christ during this season of Christmastide. For the first time, we present recorded versions of poems by Charlotte Mason. These two Christmas poems are read by Antonella Greco, our Chief Editor, who has spent countless hours transcribing and editing Charlotte Mason’s poetry for a variety of digital formats. As you read or listen to these two lovely poems by Charlotte Mason, we hope that the light of Jesus will shine more brightly in your heart.

The Nativity

(The Saviour of the World, Vol I Book I Poem XII)

The Nativity by Duccio

It came to pass, there went out a decree
From Cæsar Augustus to enrol the world:
Each one to his own place, the people went.

And Joseph, too, went out of Nazareth,
City of Galilee, to Bethlehem,
King David’s city in Judæa, for he

Of David’s lineage was; and took with him
Mary, his espousèd wife, being great with child
For her, they journeyed slow; and when they reached

Bethlehem, behold, the Khan was full of folk
Who all had come to register their names;
And groups sate here and there, and talked and ate.

Now, Mary’s hour was come, and she was full
Of anguish, with no place to house her in;
So Joseph, anxious, brought her to the byre

Wherein the travellers’ beasts were housed, and there
Found room for her: and, lo, the beasts were still
Nor gave annoy, what time he, careful, made

What poor provision for his wife he might:
Cold was the night and still, when, thus alone,
The mother bare the Son; and none did see
The brightness of His Rising, save the two.

In swathing bands, she in a manger laid,
For shelter from the cold, the princely Child:
Nor knew that there she laid the Bread of Life
Where ass and oxen for their fodder came.

Not, from His infant birth, the Son of Man
Had where to lay His head in this His world,
But shared the common place the cattle used.

Bless’d Virgin, who didst bear the World’s Delight!
Bless’d Joseph, who first saw the wondrous sight!
Good byre, which sheltered Him from rude affright!
Kind cattle, graced above all beasts that night!

“I was an outcast from my mother’s womb.”
“While yet I hanged upon my mother’s breasts,
Thou wast my hope.”
“There was no room for them in the inn.”

St. Luke ii. 1-8.
“I was an outcast”—Ps. xxii. 9, 10.

The Shepherds at Bethlehem

(The Saviour of the World, Vol I Book I Poem XIII)

Now there were shepherds in the field that night,
To watch their flocks; the stillness seemed to them
Portentous, every star an omen: awed
By the silence, they held solemn talk;
Talk of Messias, and the whispered hope
Afloat among the hill-folk—how one John,
A prophet of the Highest, had been born,
And he should go before Messias; how, here,
In Bethlehem, should Christ come; so spake the seer,
And all men knew that here was David’s city.
“And shall He, also, be a Shepherd King,
Who knows His folk by face, as we our sheep,
And calls each by his name; who shelter finds,
And pasture, for His flock, and leads them forth?
Ah, might we live to see the promised day!
But who are we? Our place is far apart
From any pomp of kings!”

And as they spake,

Behold, a sudden glory filled the night;
An angel stood beside them; said, “Fear not,
Good tidings of great joy I bring to you—
To you and to all people; this day is born
To you in David’s city, Christ the Lord!”
The shepherds held their peace, nor yet could speak
For joy and consternation; so answered them
The seraph, knowing their thought: “and this the sign
Which shall confirm to you these mighty News—
In swaddling clothes, and in a manger laid,
A Babe shall ye find.”—Whereat a multitude
Of the heavenly host now saw they with that one,
And these all sang together, praising God:—
“Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth
Peace and goodwill to men who bear goodwill!”
And, chanting still that chorus, they went up.

Prostrate upon the ground the shepherds lay,
Trembling with joy and fear: then, “Come,” said they,
“Let us go even now to Bethlehem
And see the thing the Lord God hath made known—
That He should send great News to such as we!”

They came with haste, and found the Infant lying
In a manger, as was told them; and with Him
Mary and Joseph; and worshipping, they fell
Before that mystery—Messias, born
A Babe in this poor place, with none to welcome,—
Save only the Sons of God shouting for joy!

Humble before, humbled they went away;
And told their tale to all who cared to hear;—

“The Christ, in sooth, is come—in such poor state
As might the child of beggar at the gate;
But seraph spake with us, and glory shone,
And multitude of angels joined in song!”

The people marvelled at the shepherds’ tidings;
Some talked and soon forgot, and some remembered;
But Mary kept these sayings in her heart,
Compared with other times an angel came,
And pondered day by day these mysteries.
The shepherds returned—even as the angels went—
Praising their God for all the wondrous things
Had been vouchsafed to them to see and hear.

St. Luke ii. 8-20.

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