A confession - I'm not very prepared this week, having succumbed, as usual, the holiday insanity. Today I've got cookies, wrapping, and cleaning on the agenda, and, what with the rest of the holiday preparation, I just haven't had the time to think up something brilliant, moving, and appropriate for this week's post.
So instead, I'd like to share my all-time favorite Christmas poem. (I tried to get Black Jack and the sheep to pose for an illustration, but they were more interested in breakfast than art this morning.) This is a poem specifically about Christmas, but to everyone of whatever faith, or questioning, or none at all, blessings this holiday season and for the New Year.
"The Oxen" by Thomas Hardy
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.
(ed note: This post originally appeared on December 23, 2008)