Christmas





ROSE TERRY COOKE



Here comes old Father Christmas,

With sound of fife and drums;

With mistletoe about his brows,

So merrily he comes!

His arms are full of all good cheer,

His face with laughter glows,

He shines like any household fire

Amid the cruel snows.

He is the old folks' Christmas;

He warms their hearts like wine;

He thaws their winter into spring,

And makes their faces shine.

Hurrah for Father Christmas!

Ring all the merry bells!

And bring the grandsires all around

To hear the tale he tells.



Here comes the Christmas angel,

So gentle and so calm;

As softly as the falling flakes

He comes with flute and psalm.

All in a cloud of glory,

As once upon the plain

To shepherd-boys in Jewry,

He brings good news again.

He is the young folks' Christmas;

He makes their eyes grow bright

With words of hope and tender thought,

And visions of delight.

Hail to the Christmas angel!

All peace on earth he brings;

He gathers all the youths and maids

Beneath his shining wings.



Here comes the little Christ-child,

All innocence and joy,

And bearing gifts in either hand

For every girl and boy.

He tells the tender story

About the Holy Maid,

And Jesus in the manger

Before the oxen laid.

Like any little winter bird

He sings his sweetest song,

Till all the cherubs in the sky

To hear his carol throng.

He is the children's Christmas;

They come without a call,

To gather round the gracious Child,

Who bringeth joy to all.



But who shall bring _their_ Christmas

Who wrestle still with life?

Not grandsires, youths, or little folks,

But they who wage the strife--

The fathers and the mothers

Who fight for homes and bread,

Who watch and ward the living,

And bury all the dead?

Ah! by their side at Christmas-tide

The Lord of Christmas stands:

He smooths the furrows from their brow

With strong and tender hands.

I take my Christmas gift, He saith,

From thee, tired soul, and he

Who giveth to My little ones

Gives also unto Me.





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