Unto us a Son is given
Given, not lent,
And not withdrawn—once sent—
This Infant of mankind, this One,
Is still the little welcome Son.
New every year,
New-born and newly dear,
He comes with tidings and a song,
The ages long, the ages long.
Even as the cold
Keen winter grows not old;
As childhood is so fresh, foreseen,
And spring in the familiar green;
Sudden as sweet
Come the expected feet.
All joy is young, and new all art,
And He, too, Whom we have by heart.
Alice Meynell, Later Poems, 1902.
‘By Heart’ does not mean – or should not mean – so well known that we do not appreciate the Infant of Christmas and take His Story for granted. I’d be tempted to say that Childhood is so fresh and unforeseen, after spending time with my grandsons. The feet are expected, but not where the feet take them. Joy is young, in the anticipation and the execution of scaling the climbing frame and whooshing down the slide, of trying out sounds: the Word of God was once Gada, gada, gada!
We don’t have to understand Christmas to enjoy it. Even when times are hard, as they are for so many this year, rejoice, and do not reason why. Just because.
Merry Christmas from us all, Will.
Image from L’Arche.