The Children Shall Play

Cloaked in turquoise, Fragrant Rose, carrying God… save us. 

The days are drawing us toward the 25th, and reports are that children everywhere are skipping about with anticipation. During these days, do watch the children: they know how to prepare for a celebration, and how to celebrate. They still walk the halls of innocence, and have not lost their love for First Things, which can happen in adulthood; though I must add that the beloved Holy Roman Catholic Church, established by the King-Baby of Bethlehem, kindly provides a remedy for lost innocence, which is the sacrament of Confession.  A few minutes in that Box of Life, and innocence is restored. 

So, let us, as the children are already doing, reflect on the approaching Great Day, the day so admirably described in the following 1897 poem of G.K. ChestertonThe Nativity:

The thatch of the roof was as golden,
Though dusty the straw was and old,
The wind was a peal as of trumpets,
Though blowing and barren and cold.
The mother’s hair was a glory,
Though loosened and torn,
For under the eaves in the gloaming—
A child was born.

Oh! if man sought a sign in the deepest,
That God shaketh broadest His best;
That things fairest, are oldest and simplest,
In the first days created and blest.
Far flush all the tufts of the clover,
Thick mellows the corn,
A cloud shapes, a daisy is opened—
A child is born.

Though the darkness be noisy with systems,
Dark fancies that fret and disprove;
Still the plumes stir around us, above us,
The wings of the shadow of love.
Still the fountains of life are unbroken,
Their splendour unshorn;
The secret, the symbol, the promise—
A child is born.

In the time of dead things it is living,
In the moonless grey night is a gleam;
Still the babe that is quickened may conquer,
The life that is new may redeem.
Ho! princes and priests, have ye heard it?
Grow pale through your scorn;
Huge dawns sleep before us, stern changes—
A child is born.

And the mother still joys for the whispered
First stir of unspeakable things;
Still feels that high moment unfurling
Red glories of Gabriel’s wings.
Still the Babe of an hour is a master,
Whom angels adorn,
Emmanuel, Prophet, Anointed—
A child is born.

To the rusty barred doors of the hungry,
To the struggle for life and the din;
Still with brush of bright plumes and with knocking,
The kingdom of God enters in.
To the daughters of patience that labour,
That weep, and are worn;
One moment of love and of laughter—
A child is born.

And till man and his riddle be answered,
While earth shall remain and desire;
While the flesh of a man is as grass is,
And the soul of a man as a fire.
While the daybreak shall come with its banner,
The moon with its horn;
It shall stay with us, that which is written—
A child is born.

And for him who shall dream that the martyr
Is vanished, and love but a toy;
That life lives not through pain and surrender,
Living only through self and its joy.
Shall the Lord God erase from the body
The oath he hath sworn?
Bend back to thy work, saying only—
A child is born.

The daybreak is coming with its banner: Christ shall be born!

And, the children shall play.


~Image: statue of Christ, the Infant King, at daybreak.