Monday, December 23, 2013

THE LION'S NOEL, The Tail's End

is stable is
a Prince’s courte,
 The cribbe His 
chaire of State;
The beastes 
are parcell of 
His pompe,
The wodden dishe, 
His plate.
Robert Southwell 

The Lion's Noël

A Book of Christmas Beasts

The Tail's End

"Who were the first to cry Nowell?
Animals all, as it befell,
In the stable where they did dwell!
     Joy shall be theirs in the morning!"

             Kenneth Grahame from "The Wind in the Willows"

A Christmas Folk-Song

The little Jesus came to town;

The wind blew up, the wind blew down;

Out in the street the wind was bold;

Now who would house Him from the cold?

Then opened wide a stable door,

Fair were the rushes on the floor;

The Ox put forth a hornèd head:

"Come, Little Lord, here make Thy bed."

Uprose the Sheep were folded near:

"Thou Lamb of God, come, enter here."

He entered there to rush and reed,

Who was the Lamb of God, indeed.

The little Jesus came to town;

With Ox and Sheep He laid Him down;

Peace to the byre, peace to the fold,

For that they housed Him from the cold! 

               Lizette Woodworth Reese, 1856-1935

From "Children's Song of the Nativity"

How far is it to Bethlehem?

    Not very far.

Shall we find the stable room

   Lit by a star?

Can we see the little Child,

    Is He within?

If we lift the wooden latch
   May we go in?

May we stroke the creatures there,

    Ox, ass, and sheep?

May we peep like them and see
   Jesus asleep?

If we touch His tiny hand

    Will He awake?

Will He know we've come so far

    Just for His sake?

Great kings have precious gifts,

    And we have naught,

Little smiles and little tears

    Are all we brought.

         Frances Alice Chesterton, 1875-1938

Nativity in Russian Folk Art Style by Sapharov

Thus every beast by some good spell,

     In the stable dark was glad to tell

          Of the gift he gave Immanuel

           Robert Davis, from "The Friendly Beasts"

Here ends
The Tail's End
- and -
Here ends
The Lion's Noël 

The voice of the critters at the manger is particularly touching to me because of the metaphor it invokes for the humility of all who would worship Him at His birth. We must stoop, bend, bow our way into the stable and accept the gift of love that is given to us from the Father--the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

                                       from Leon Archibald, December 2013

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