By Lucy Larcom
Written for the Boston Traveller, Christmas, 1881.
Published in The Poetical Works of Lucy Larcom.
Thanksgiving stirs her ruddy fire;
The glow illuminates November:
She sees new glimmerings of desire
Flash up from every fading ember.
The corn is stored, and heaped the board;
The matron Day, her comforts summing,
Hears, through her best, a better word, –
The merry shout of “Christmas coming!”
The fires of two home-festivals
Light up the frosty air together;
Thanksgiving unto Christmas calls,
“Shake hands across this keen cold weather!
We both are here to bring good cheer;
Each has a heart-glow for the other;
The chill of our New England year
Welcomes your warmth, my Old-World brother.
“Upon your jovial countenance,
Your overflow of human gladness,
My Puritans once looked askance;
They saw in merriment but madness.
That gloom has ceased; our annual feast
Rebukes no laughing guest as sinning;
From you, bright Birthday of the East,
The date of its own joy beginning.
“My Pilgrims thought your wassail rude,
Your Yule-flames a barbaric splendor;
Your gay old English games eschewed,
Their graver gratitude to render
For hardships past, for peace at last:
Now, with a larger comprehending,
We catch your cheerful meaning vast,
That gives the year a blessed ending.
“You raised the clash of Pagan mirth
Two chords of purer, loftier feeling:
How joyously the desert earth
Rang to the Christmas bells’ first pealing!
Blithe bells, repeat your echo sweet,
Of Him who died, and yet is living!
Ring on! ring in His coming feet,
Whose presence is the World’s Thanksgiving!”
Ah, sacred Christmas! with your snows
Falls on the land a blessing whiter!
Its best, its Holiest, Heaven bestows:
Light breaks; life everywhere grows brighter.
Our hearts we lift to take God’s gift;
Our own, to share with another:
Apart no more we coldly drift;
Christmas brings brother home to brother.
Dear last days of the dying year,
Golden with Love’s most lovely story!
Dear homely earth, to Heaven so near,
Shone on by Bethlehem’s starry glory!
Glad Christmas-tide, flow swift and wide,
With precious gifts for mortals freighted!
Glad Christmas Day, with us abide,
At every hearthstone acclimated!
So Christmas and Thanksgiving clasp
Their hands, and brightly bridge December.
Close met within that heart-felt grasp,
All friends One Friend of all remember.
Two feast-fires glow across the snow;
Dead voices answer to the living,
As home to meet our own we go;
“PraisHappye God for Christmas and Thanksgiving!”