John Masefield was Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom from 1930 to 1967. Perhaps he is best remembered for his children’s fantasy books, ‘The Midnight Folk’ of 1927 and its 1935 sequel, ‘The Box of Delights’ but he had been a sailor on tall ships and a medical orderly in a Great War field hospital. He wrote ‘The Coming of Christ’ as an ‘audacious commission’ for Canterbury Cathedral in 1928. This verse drama is perhaps best described as a XX Century Mystery Play. It opens in Heaven with a discussion among the heavenly host about the imminent mission of Christ to earth, where the Wise Men and Shepherds will be on hand for The Coming of Christ.
There is a strong theme of Mercy running through the work, which makes it an appropriate setting for reflection as the Year of Mercy gives way to Advent and the Christmas season.