illustration early 20th century adoration of the shepherds

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
“Now they are all on their knees,”
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearthside ease.

We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.

So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
“Come; see the oxen kneel,

“In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
Our childhood used to know,”
I should go with him in the gloom,
Hoping it might be so.

Thomas Hardy, “The Oxen,” 1915

A song to go with the poem – one we listened to every year

adotration of the shepherds, 1907 illustration
“When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger.” Luke 2:15-16

Image: The Nativity from The Golden Staircase: Poems and Verses for Children, 1907, Internet Archive Book Images, No restrictions, via Wikimedia Commons

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