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Down brightly shone the morning sun
Upon a little girl and boy,
And as the day was new begun
They played and spoke of Christmas joy.

And when the clock began to chime,
In Mother came and heard them say:
  O Mother, what is Christmastime?
And what shall be on Christmas Day?

  At Christmastime the snow gleams white;
We celebrate the Saviour's birth;
And Santa Claus on Christmas Night
Brings children toys all o'er the earth.

So ring the room with boughs of pine,
And burn the candles bright and clear,
And trim the tree with silver shine:
No evil thing may enter here.

All feel the Joy the season brings,
All sing the songs of Peace and Love --
For at fair Christmastime all things
Are well on earth, with God above.

  The little girl skipped off to play,
Each doll a Christ Child newly born;
And as she dreamt of Christmas Day
Her brother went to school that morn.

The phone rang shrill, the mother cried,
The sirens screamed in ceaseless wail;
They brought her to her brother's side;
Like ice he lay all cold and pale.

  O Mother, Mother, answer why --
What of the tales I heard you tell?
Were all the songs of Joy a lie?
Is all at Christmastime not well?

  The silence fell like sinking stones;
Then as the winter winds that blow
She heard her mother's whispered tones
That broke and cracked and murmured low.

  At Christmas many know no Love;
No Santa comes on Christmas Eve;
And that there dwells a God above
I know not whether I believe.

And some go hungry, some grow old,
And there is fear and death and pain;
Some have no mother's hand to hold;
And soon the snow may all be rain.

Then ring the room with boughs of pine,
And burn the candles bright and clear,
And trim the tree with silver shine:
Yet evil still may enter here.

The terrors lurk, the shadows prowl
Around our wreath of candlelight;
Beyond our warmth the wild winds howl;
The day is dark, and swift the night.

Background on An Advent Canticle:

In December 2012, I wrote a series of 25 poems in total (one for each day of December 1-24, plus a Prelude) and posted each one here on Daily Kos as I completed it. The poems dealt with common Christmas themes, as well as with issues highly relevant to Daily Kos readers: commercialism, climate change, and interfaith dialogue, among others. The wonderful feedback and support I received from Kossacks was a big part of what kept me going throughout this project!

It was suggested that I repost them on Daily Kos as a yearly event, and after some thought, I've decided to do so. (If you want to read them all, they're archived here; scroll down to the bottom.) Enjoy!

Originally posted to Green Canticle on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 07:55 AM PST.

Also republished by Street Prophets and Kitchen Table Kibitzing.

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