Friday, December 24, 2021

Old Harbinger of Mirth

Christmas Eve
by John Holland 

“In the Primitive Church, Christmas Day was always observed as the Lord's Day was, and was in like manner preceded by an Eve or Vigil : hence it is that our church hath ordered an Eve before it, which is observed by the religious as a preparation for that great festival. Our forefathers, when the common devotions of the Eve were over, were wont to light large Christmas Candles, and lay on the fire the Yule-log, or Christmas Block, to illuminate the house, and turn night into day.” 

Come Christmas Eve, old harbinger of mirth!
Still thou art welcome, with whatever cheer;
Or whether thou, with frost intense, and clear,
Soft snow-fall, or loud storm dost visit earth:
For thou remindest, at his social hearth,
Man to bestir himself to watch and pray,
Till, with prevented dawn, he hail the day,
Auspicious! which once gave his Saviour birth:
Blest duty! joyous season! Happy he,
Who, the true Christian, takes his glorious part,
Of praising with a tuneful tongue and heart,
Christ, whom ev'n Angels marvell’d once to see,
Leaving his Father's side in heaven above,
To show to this fall'n world, all a Redeemer's love!