Christmas, 1880 by George MacDonald

Great-hearted child, thy very being The Son,
Who know’st the hearts of all us prodigals;—
For who is prodigal but he who has gone
Far from the true to heart it with the false?—
Who, who but thou, that, from the animals’,
Know’st all the hearts, up to the Father’s own,
Can tell what it would be to be alone!

Alone! No father!—At the very thought
Thou, the eternal light, wast once aghast;
A death in death for thee it almost wrought!
But thou didst haste, about to breathe thy last,
And call’dst out Father ere thy spirit passed,
Exhausted in fulfilling not any vow,
But doing his will who greater is than thou.

That we might know him, thou didst come and live;
That we might find him, thou didst come and die;
The son-heart, brother, thy son-being give—
We too would love the father perfectly,
And to his bosom go back with the cry,
Father, into thy hands I give the heart
Which left thee but to learn how good thou art!

There are but two in all the universe—
The father and his children—not a third;
Nor, all the weary time, fell any curse!
Not once dropped from its nest an unfledged bird
But thou wast with it! Never sorrow stirred
But a love-pull it was upon the chain
That draws the children to the father again!

O Jesus Christ, babe, man, eternal son,
Take pity! we are poor where thou art rich:
Our hearts are small; and yet there is not one
In all thy father’s noisy nursery which,
Merry, or mourning in its narrow niche,
Needs not thy father’s heart, this very now,
With all his being’s being, even as thou!

Published in: on December 24, 2010 at 11:33 am  Leave a Comment  
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An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving

By Louisa May Alcott, November, 1881.

SIXTY YEARS AGO, up among the New Hampshire hills, lived Farmer Bassett, with a houseful of sturdy sons and daughters growing up about him. They were poor in money, but rich in land and love, for the wide acres of wood, corn, and pasture land fed, warmed, and clothed the flock, while mutual patience, affection, and courage made the old farmhouse a very happy home.

November had come; the crops were in, and barn, buttery, and bin were overflowing with the harvest that rewarded the summer’s hard work. The big kitchen was a jolly place just now, for in the great fireplace roared a cheerful fire; on the walls hung garlands of dried apples, onions, and corn; up aloft from the beams shone crook-necked squashes, juicy hams, and dried venison–for in those days deer still haunted the deep forests, and hunters flourished. Savory smells were in the air; on the crane hung steaming kettles, and down among the red embers copper saucepans simmered, all suggestive of some approaching feast.

A white-headed baby lay in the old blue cradle that had rocked six other babies, now and then lifting his head to look out, like a round, full moon, then subsided to kick and crow contentedly, and suck the rosy apple he had no teeth to bite. Two small boys sat on the wooden settle shelling corn for popping, and picking out the biggest nuts from the goodly store their own hands had gathered in October. Four young girls stood at the long dresser, busily chopping meat, pounding spice, and slicing apples; and the tongues of Tilly, Prue, Roxy, and Rhody went as fast as their hands. Farmer Bassett, and Eph, the oldest boy, were “chorin’ ’round” outside, for Thanksgiving was at hand, and all must be in order for that time-honored day.

(more…)

Published in: on November 24, 2010 at 4:49 pm  Leave a Comment