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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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'TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS
AND ALL THROUGH THE TOWN
ST. JOSEPH WAS SEARCHING,
WALKING UP ROADS AND DOWN.
OUR LADY WAS WAITING
SO MEEK AND SO MILD,
WHILE JOSEPH WAS SEEKING
A PLACE FOR THE CHILD.
THE CHILDREN WERE NESTLED,
EACH SNUG IN HIS BED;
AND THE GROWNUPS WOULDN'T BOTHER,
"THERE'S NO ROOM," THEY SAID.
WHEN EVEN THE INNKEEPER SENT THEM AWAY
AND JOSEPH WAS WONDERING WHERE THEY WOULD STAY,
HE THOUGHT OF THE CAVE IN THE SIDE OF THE HILL.
"LET'S GO THERE," SAID MARY, "IT'S SILENT AND STILL."
THE MOON ON THE BREAST
OF THE NEW FALLEN SNOW
MADE A PATHWAY OF LIGHT
FOR THEIR TIRED FEET TO GO.
AND IN THE CAVE
IN A CRADLE OF HAY
THE SAVIOR WAS BORN
ON THAT FIRST CHRISTMAS DAY!
THE FATHER WAS WATCHING
IN HEAVEN ABOVE,
AND SENT FOR HIS ANGELS,
HIS COURTIERS OF LOVE.
MORE RAPID THAN EAGLES,
GOD'S BRIGHT ANGELS CAME,
REJOICING AND EAGER,
AS EACH HEARD HIS NAME.
"COME POWERS, COME CHERUBS,
COME VIRTUES AND RAPHAEL;
COME THRONES AND DOMINIONS,
COME MICHAEL AND GABRIEL."
"NOW FLY TO THE EARTH
WHERE MY POOR PEOPLE LIVE,
ANNOUNCE THE GLAD TIDINGS
MY SON COMES TO GIVE!"
THE SHEPHERDS WERE WATCHING
THEIR FLOCKS ON THIS NIGHT;
AND SAW IN THE HEAVENS
AN UNEARTHLY LIGHT.
THE ANGELS ASSURED THEM
THEY'D NOTHING TO FEAR,
"IT'S CHRISTMAS," THEY SAID,
"THE SAVIOR IS HERE."
THEY HASTENED TO FIND HIM,
AND STOOD AT THE DOOR,
UNTIL MARY INVITED THEM IN
TO ADORE.
HE WAS SWADDLED IN BANDS
FROM HIS HEAD TO HIS FEET,
AND NEVER DID SHEPHERDS
SEE A BABY SO SWEET.
HE SPOKE NOT A WORD,
BUT THE SHEPHERDS ALL KNEW
HE WAS TELLING THEM SECRETS,
AND BLESSING THEM, TOO.
THEN SOFTLY THEY LEFT HIM,
THE BABE IN THE HAY,
AND REJOICED WITH GREAT JOY,
ON THAT FIRST CHRISTMAS DAY.
MARY HEARD THEM EXCLAIM
AS THEY WALKED UP THE HILL,
"GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST;
PEACE TO MEN OF GOOD WILL."

Submitter comment: SISTER BANKERT SAID THAT IT WAS A CUSTOM FOR MANY YEARS,
FOR THE SISTERS TO MAKE UP PICTURE BOOKS OF THIS POEM FOR
NIECES AND NEWPHEWS. SISTER GAVE ME THIS COPY IN 1953.

Data entry tech comment: VARIATION OF "THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS"

Where learned: DETROIT ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED

Keyword(s): METER: ANAPESTIC ; PIOUS, THIRD PERSON NARRATIVE ; RELIGION CHRISTMAS NATIVITY ; RHYME: MASCULINE, ABCB

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Narrative Verse
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