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Christmas Poems

Table of Contents

Poems About the Meaning of Christmas

  1. The Christmas Spectrum by Anonymous
  2. A Christmas Carol by Christina Georgina Rossetti
  3. Christmas Day by Charles Wesley
  4. The Holy Night by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  5. The Inn That Missed Its Chance by Anonymous
  6. "Peace on Earth" by Amos Russel Wells
  7. Christmas Day by ENS
  8. Christmas Song by Bliss Carman
  9. A Christmas Eve Choral by Bliss Carman
  10. Bethlehem's Star by Eliza and Sarah Wolcott

Poems About Christmas Festivities

  1. A Recipe for a Merry Christmas by Anonymous
  2. Advice About Your Stocking by Anonymous

Other Poems About Christmas

  1. Christmas Bells by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  2. Piccola by Celia Laighton Thaxter
  3. Christmas Eve, South, 1865 by Mary E. Tucker
  4. The Wise Men from the East by Bliss Carman
  5. The Sending of the Magi by Bliss Carman
  6. A Christmas Hymn by John Charles McNeill
  7. Christmas Eve by Christopher Morley

Poems About the Meaning of Christmas

  1. The Christmas Spectrum

    by Amos Russel Wells

    Seven points hath the Christmas star:
    One is the love that shines afar
    From God to man; and one is the love
    That leaps from the world to the Lord above;
    And one is good will on the happy earth;
    And one is purity, one is peace,
    And two are the joys that never cease,—
    God's joy,
    Man's joy,—
    Aflame in the star of the wonderful Birth.

    And the light of God's love is a golden light,
    And man's love to man is crimson bright,
    And man's love to God is an azure ray,—
    Alas when it flickers and dies away!
    And the seven rays through the worshipping night,
    Like the flash of all jewels, exult and play,—
    God's joy,
    Man's joy,—
    Yet they shine as one, and the star is white.

  2. A Christmas Carol

    by Christina Georgina Rossetti

    In the bleak mid-winter
    Frosty wind made moan,
    Earth stood hard as iron,
    Water like a stone;
    Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
    Snow on snow,
    In the bleak mid-winter
    Long ago.

    Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him
    Nor earth sustain;
    Heaven and earth shall flee away
    When He comes to reign:
    In the bleak mid-winter
    A stable-place sufficed
    The Lord God Almighty,
    Jesus Christ.

    Enough for Him, whom cherubim
    Worship night and day,
    A breastful of milk
    And a mangerful of hay;
    Enough for Him, whom angels
    Fall down before,
    The ox and ass and camel
    Which adore.

    Angels and archangels
    May have gathered there,
    Cherubim and seraphim
    Thronged the air;
    But only His mother
    In her maiden bliss,
    Worshipped the Beloved
    With a kiss.

    What can I give Him,
    Poor as I am?
    If I were a shepherd
    I would bring a lamb,
    If I were a wise man
    I would do my part,
    Yet what I can I give Him,
    Give my heart.

  3. Christmas Day

    by Charles Wesley

    Hark! the herald angels sing
    Glory to the new-born King!
    Peace on earth and mercy mild,
    God and sinners reconciled.

    Joyful all ye nations rise,
    Join the triumph of the skies,
    With the angelic host proclaim
    Christ is born in Bethlehem!

    Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace!
    Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
    Light and life to all he brings,
    Risen with healing in his wings.

    Mild, he lays his glory by;
    Born, that man no more may die,
    Born to raise the sons of earth,
    Born to give them second birth.

  4. The Holy Night

    by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

    We sate among the stalls at Bethlehem;
    The dumb kine from their fodder turning them,
    Softened their horned faces
    To almost human gazes
    Toward the newly Born:
    The simple shepherds from the star-lit brooks
    Brought visionary looks,
    As yet in their astonied hearing rung
    The strange sweet angel-tongue:
    The magi of the East, in sandals worn,
    Knelt reverent, sweeping round,
    With long pale beards, their gifts upon the ground,
    The incense, myrrh, and gold
    These baby hands were impotent to hold:
    So let all earthlies and celestials wait
    Upon thy royal state.
    Sleep, sleep, my kingly One!

  5. The Inn That Missed Its Chance

    by Anonymous

    (The Landlord speaks, A.D. 28.)

    What could be done? The inn was full of folks!
    His honor, Marcus Lucius, and his scribes
    Who made the census: honorable men
    From farthest Galilee, come hitherward
    To he enrolled; high ladles and their lords;
    The rich, the rabbis, such a noble throng
    As Bethlehem had never seen before,
    And may not see again. And there they were,
    Close herded with their servants, till the inn
    Was like a hive at swarming-time, and I
    Was fairly crazed among them.

    Could I know
    That they were so important? Just the two,
    No servants, just a workman sort of man,
    Leading a donkey, and his wife thereon,
    Drooping and pale,—I saw them not myself,
    My servants must have driven them away;
    But had I seen them, how was I to know?
    Were inns to welcome stragglers, up and down
    In all our towns from Beersheha to Dan,
    Till He should come? And how were men to know?

    There was a sign, they say, a heavenly light
    Resplendent; but I had no time for stars.
    And there were songs of angels in the air
    Out on the hills; but how was I to hear
    Amid the thousand clamors of an inn?

    Of course, if I had known them, who they were,
    And who was He that should he born that night,—
    For now I learn that they will make Him King,
    A second David, who will ransom us
    From these Philistine Romans,—who but He
    That feeds an army with a loaf of bread,
    And if a soldier falls, He touches him
    And up he leaps, uninjured? Had I known,
    I would have turned the whole inn upside down,
    His honor, Marcus Lucius, and the rest,
    And sent them all to stables, had I known.

    So you have seen Him, stranger, and perhaps
    Again will see Him, Prithee say for me,
    I did not know; and if He comes again
    As He will surely come, with retinue,
    And banners, and an army, tell my Lord
    That all my inn is His, to make amends.

    Alas! Alas! To miss a chance like that!
    This inn that might he chief among them all,
    The birthplace of Messiah,—had I known!

  6. "Peace on Earth"

    by Amos Russel Wells

    Bethlehem hills that solemn night
    Softly beheld a golden sight,
    Thrilled to a burst of holy sound:
    "Glory to God to the farthest height,
    Peace on earth
    To men of worth,
    Men in whom God's grace is found!"

    Ever has that angelic lay
    Widened over the earth away;
    Still the quivering echoes run
    From listening night to listening day—
    "Peace, peace, peace,"
    They never cease,
    Broadening out from sun to sun.

    Now, through the miracle of time,
    In every land, in every clime,
    Whispering low in the pulsing air
    Sounds that Bethlehem chant sublime,
    Singing still
    Of man's good will
    And the heavenly Father's peaceful care.

    How can we reach and catch the song?
    How, in our Babel of wrath and wrong,
    Can we capture the holy strain again
    That has wandered far, so far and long,
    On land and sea
    So far and free:
    "Peace on earth and good will to men"?

    Hushed in the dawning of love's great light,
    Brothers all in the angels' sight,
    Some glad day we shall catch the sound;
    "Glory to God in the farthest height,
    Peace on earth
    To men of worth,
    Men in whom God's grace is found!"

  7. Christmas Day

    by ENS

    How shall I own this grand auspicious day,
    In which my Saviour did vouchsafe to come
    And dwell on earth, cloth'd in our sinful clay,
    That we through Him might reach His glorious throne?

    He came to teach, to suffer, and to save,
    To save poor mortals from the effects of sin;
    He came to triumph o'er the darksome grave,
    To conquer death and spoil him of his sting.

    He came to fulfil all the just demands
    Of God, His Father, our offended King;
    He came to save us from th' avenging hand
    Of wrath awaken'd, the reward of sin.

    I'll hail it as a day of heavenly mirth,
    Of holy gladness, peace, goodwill to men;
    This day the great Redeemer came on earth,
    To save us and destroy the effects of sin.

    I'll hail it as a day of liberty,
    When we were loosed from satan's fetters strong;
    This day His work began to set us free,
    Angels this morn proclaim'd the Saviour come.

    Glory to thee, oh! Father, Lord of might,
    Who hath on us bestow'd so great a boon;
    Glory to thee, oh! Saviour, prince of life,
    Who for our sakes left thy resplendent throne.

    Glory to thee, oh! Holy Ghost divine,
    Oh! let thine influence on our hearts descend,
    Glory and praises be for ever thine,
    Triune Jehovah evermore—amen.

  8. Christmas Song

    by Bliss Carman

    Above the weary waiting world,
    Asleep in chill despair,
    There breaks a sound of joyous bells
    Upon the frosted air.
    And o'er the humblest rooftree, lo,
    A star is dancing on the snow.

    What makes the yellow star to dance
    Upon the brink of night?
    What makes the breaking dawn to glow
    So magically bright, —
    And all the earth to be renewed
    With infinite beatitude?

    The singing bells, the throbbing star,
    The sunbeams on the snow,
    And the awakening heart that leaps
    New ecstasy to know, —
    They all are dancing in the morn
    Because a little child is born.

  9. A Christmas Eve Choral

    by Bliss Carman

    HALLELUJA!
    What sound is this across the dark
    While all the earth is sleeping? Hark!
    Halleluja! Halleluja! Halleluja!

    Why are thy tender eyes so bright,
    Mary, Mary?
    On the prophetic deep of night
    Joseph, Joseph,
    I see the borders of the light,
    And in the day that is to be
    An aureoled man-child I see,
    Great love's son, Joseph.

    Halleluja!
    He hears not, but she hears afar,
    The Minstrel Angel of the star.
    Halleluja! Halleluja! Halleluja!

    Why is thy gentle smile so deep,
    Mary, Mary?
    It is the secret I must keep,
    Joseph, Joseph, —
    The joy that will not let me sleep,
    The glory of the coming days,
    When all the world shall turn to praise
    God's goodness, Joseph.

    Halleluja!
    Clear as the bird that brings the morn
    She hears the heavenly music borne.
    Halleluja! Halleluja! Halleluja!

    Why is thy radiant face so calm,
    Mary, Mary?
    His strength is like a royal palm,
    Joseph, Joseph;
    His beauty like the victor's psalm,
    He moves like morning o'er the lands
    And there is healing in his hands
    For sorrow, Joseph.

    Halleluja!
    Tender as dew-fall on the earth
    She hears the choral of love's birth.
    Halleluja! Halleluja! Halleluja!

    What is the message come to thee,
    Mary, Mary?
    I hear like wind within the tree,
    Joseph, Joseph,
    Or like a far-off melody
    His deathless voice proclaiming peace,
    And bidding ruthless wrong to cease,
    For love's sake, Joseph.

    Halleluja!
    Moving as rain-wind in the spring
    She hears the angel chorus ring.
    Halleluja! Halleluja! Halleluja!

    Why are thy patient hands so still,
    Mary, Mary?
    I see the shadow on the hill,
    Joseph, Joseph,
    And wonder if it is God's will
    That courage, service, and glad youth
    Shall perish in the cause of truth
    Forever, Joseph.

    Halleluja!
    Her heart in that celestial chime
    Has heard the harmony of time.
    Halleluja! Halleluja! Halleluja!

    Why is thy voice so strange and far,
    Mary, Mary?
    I see the glory of the star,
    Joseph, Joseph;
    And in its light all things that are,
    Made glad and wise beyond the sway
    Of death and darkness and dismay,
    In God's time Joseph.

    Halleluja!
    To every heart in love 'tis given
    To hear the ecstasy of heaven.
    Halleluja! Halleluja! Halleluja.

  10. Bethlehem's Star, Or, The Wise Men From The East

    by Eliza and Sarah Wolcott

    They followed the star by faith,—all may follow
    Their steps to fair Bethlehem's gates;
    The song of the angels, our bosoms may hallow,—
    The Savior, to meet us there, waits.

    What song can compare with the song which they sing,—
    'Tis the song which eternity fills;—
    Good will toward men, is the song which they bring,
    While shepherds descend from the hills.

    The news now is gladness, 'tis joy, it is peace,
    Which the wings of the angels unfold;
    Their message of truth, our faith shall increase,
    Where the star leads our eyes to behold.

    Redemption from bondage, and slavery's chains,
    Our lips now in praises may sing;
    We follow the Star, where the image contains
    Our Conqueror, Priest, and our King.

    The lowliest station, he takes for his bed,
    The meanest of clothing puts on;
    He is found without pomp, where the oxen are fed,
    Though the world he can claim as his own,

    Blest pattern of meekness, thy visit we prize,
    Our hearts feel new joys while we sing;
    Our praises in concert, shall constantly rise,
    Till earth owns her Savior and King.

Poems About Christmas Festivities

  1. A Recipe for a Merry Christmas

    by Anonymous

    Take a cup of thoughtfulness,
    Take a cup of love,
    Take the herbs that cheer and bless,
    Drawn from stores above.

    Take a pinch or two of pains,
    And an ounce of wit,
    And of secrecy two grains,
    Just to flavor it.

    Cook it at the fire of zest,
    Seeking not your own;
    You will have the merriest
    Christmas ever known.

  2. Advice About Your Stocking

    by Anonymous

    There are three little creatures that find their way
    Into a Christmas stocking,
    And they spoil the whole of Christmas Day
    In a manner very shocking.
    Those pesky creatures have no wings,
    Nor body, nor soul, indeed;
    And these are the names of the dreadful things,—
    Self, and Thankless, and Greed.
    They often crawl, as well I know,
    In the Christmas stocking to spite you,
    And if you leave them in heel or toe.
    Ah, how they will sting and bite you!
    Choose a hole-y stocking, if yon would expel
    These things without body or soul;
    Then ram in your fist, and shake it well,
    And drive them out through the hole!

Other Poems About Christmas

  1. Christmas Bells

    By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    I heard the bells on Christmas Day
    Their old, familiar carols play,
    And wild and sweet
    The words repeat
    Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

    And thought how, as the day had come,
    The belfries of all Christendom
    Had rolled along
    The unbroken song
    Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

    Till ringing, singing on its way,
    The world revolved from night to day,
    A voice, a chime,
    A chant sublime
    Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

    Then from each black, accursed mouth
    The cannon thundered in the South,
    And with the sound
    The carols drowned
    Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

    It was as if an earthquake rent
    The hearth-stones of a continent,
    And made forlorn
    The households born
    Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

    And in despair I bowed my head;
    “There is no peace on earth," I said;
    “For hate is strong,
    And mocks the song
    Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

    Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
    “God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
    The Wrong shall fail,
    The Right prevail,
    With peace on earth, good-will to men.”

  2. Piccola

    By Celia Laighton Thaxter, who was born at Portsmouth, N. H., June 29, 1836. Much of her childhood was passed at White Island, one of the Isles of Shoals, off the coast of New Hampshire. "Among the Isles of Shoals," is her most noted work in prose. She published a volume of poems, many of which are favorites with children. She died in 1894.

    Poor, sweet Piccola! Did you hear
    What happened to Piccola, children dear?
    'T is seldom Fortune such favor grants
    As fell to this little maid of France.

    'T was Christmas time, and her parents poor
    Could hardly drive the wolf from the door,
    Striving with poverty's patient pain
    Only to live till summer again.

    No gift for Piccola! sad were they
    When dawned the morning of Christmas day!
    Their little darling no joy might stir;
    St. Nicholas nothing would bring to her!

    But Piccola never doubted at all
    That something beautiful must befall
    Every child upon Christmas day,
    And so she slept till the dawn was gray.

    And full of faith, when at last she woke,
    She stole to her shoe as the morning broke;
    Such sounds of gladness filled all the air,
    'T was plain St. Nicholas had been there.

    In rushed Piccola, sweet, half wild—
    Never was seen such a joyful child—
    "See what the good saint brought!" she cried,
    And mother and father must peep inside.

    Now such a story I never heard!
    There was a little shivering bird!
    A sparrow, that in at the window flew,
    Had crept into Piccola's tiny shoe!

    "How good poor Piccola must have been!"
    She cried, as happy as any queen,
    While the starving sparrow she fed and warmed,
    And danced with rapture, she was so charmed.

    Children, this story I tell to you
    Of Piccola sweet and her bird, is true.
    In the far-off land of France, they say,
    Still do they live to this very day.

  3. Christmas Eve, South, 1865

    by Mary E. Tucker

    Poverty, remorseless spectre,
    Reigns throughout our once fair land,
    And he wields no fancy sceptre,
    In his iron-covered hand.
    Stifled sighs our hearts are rending,
    Thanks for peace — with want contending.

    Widows, orphans, homeless, dreary,
    Call in vain for earthly aid, —
    There is rest for all the weary,
    On Him, let your cares be stayed.
    He his helpless ones protecting,
    Who abideth his directing.

    'Tis the merry Christmas even,
    Hallowed throughout all the earth;
    Angels, too, rejoice in Heaven,
    O'er the blessed Saviour's birth.
    Yet many are sad vigils keeping
    For those who all unknown are sleeping.

    Children hush their eager voices,
    They by instinct seem to feel,
    That the heart which now rejoices
    Must, indeed, be cased in steel.
    Yet still they turn with bitter sighing,
    To where their little socks are lying.

    "Mother! mother! darling mother!
    Please don't weep so any more;
    We are left you, I and brother,
    We don't care if we are poor.
    Now, mother, darling, stop your weeping,
    And kiss as ere we both are sleeping."

    Rosy sleep at last has bound them;
    Now they revel in their dreams;
    "Santa Claus" now hovers round them,
    Showering o'er them fairy gleams
    Darlings, what is life but dreaming?
    Grasp a pleasure — 'tis but seeming.

    Mother! kneel in adoration,
    That thou hast some comfort left;
    Send forth, now, thy invocation
    For the sad of all bereft.
    With faith in God, in Christ believing,
    For Heaven is real, and earth deceiving.

  4. The Wise Men from the East (A LITTLE BOY'S CHRISTMAS LESSON)

    by Bliss Carman

    Why were the Wise Men three,
    Instead of five or seven?"
    They had to match, you see,
    The archangels in Heaven.

    God sent them, sure and swift,
    By his mysterious presage,
    To bear the threefold gift
    And take the threefold message.

    Thus in their hands were seen
    The gold of purest Beauty,
    The myrrh of Truth all-clean,
    The frankincense of Duty.

    And thus they bore away
    The loving heart's great treasure,
    And knowledge clear as day,
    To be our life's new measure.

    They went back to the East
    To spread the news of gladness.
    There one became a priest
    To the new word of sadness;

    And one a workman, skilled
    Beyond the old earth's fashion;
    And one a scholar, filled
    With learning's endless passion.

    God sent them for a sign
    He would not change nor alter
    His good and fair design,
    However man may falter.

    He meant that, as He chose
    His perfect plan and willed it,
    They stood in place of those
    Who elsewhere had fulfilled it;

    Whoso would mark and reach
    The height of man's election,
    Must still achieve and teach
    The triplicate perfection.

    For since the world was made,
    One thing was needed ever,
    To keep man undismayed
    Through failure and endeavor —

    A faultless trinity
    Of body, mind, and spirit,
    And each with its own three
    Strong angels to be near it;

    Strength to arise and go
    Wherever dawn is breaking,
    Poise like the tides that flow,
    Instinct for beauty-making;

    Imagination bold
    To cross the mystic border,
    Reason to seek and hold,
    Judgment for law and order;

    Joy that makes all things well,
    Faith that is all-availing
    Each terror to dispel,
    And Love, ah, Love unfailing.

    These are the flaming Nine
    Who walk the world unsleeping,
    Sent forth by the Divine
    With manhood in their keeping.

    These are the seraphs strong
    His mighty soul had need of,
    When He would right the wrong
    And sorrow He took heed of.

    And that, I think, is why
    The Wise Men knelt before Him,
    And put their kingdoms by
    To serve Him and adore Him;

    So that our Lord, unknown,
    Should not be unattended,
    When He was here alone
    And poor and unbefriended;

    That still He might have three
    (Rather than five or seven)
    To stand in their degree,
    Like archangels in Heaven.

  5. The Sending of the Magi

    by Bliss Carman

    In a far Eastern country
    It happened long of yore,
    Where a lone and level sunrise
    Flushes the desert floor,
    That three kings sat together
    And a spearman kept the door.

    Gaspar, whose wealth was counted
    By city and caravan;
    With Melchior, the seer
    Who read the starry plan;
    And Balthasar, the blameless,
    Who loved his fellow man.

    There while they talked, a sudden
    Strange rushing sound arose,
    And as with startled faces
    They thought upon their foes,
    Three figures stood before them
    In imperial repose.

    One in flame-gold and one in blue
    And one in scarlet clear,
    With the almighty portent
    Of sunrise they drew near!
    And the kings made obeisance
    With hand on breast, in fear.

    "Arise," said they, "we bring you
    Good tidings of great peace!
    To-day a power is wakened
    Whose working must increase,
    Till fear and greed and malice
    And violence shall cease."

    The messengers were Michael,
    By whom all things are wrought
    To shape and hue; and Gabriel
    Who is the lord of thought;
    And Rafael without whose love
    All toil must come to nought.

    Then Rafael said to Balthasar,
    "In a country west from here
    A lord is born in lowliness,
    In love without a peer.
    Take grievances and gifts to him
    And prove his kingship clear!

    "By this sign ye shall know him;
    Within his mother's arm
    Among the sweet-breathed cattle
    He slumbers without harm,
    While wicked hearts are troubled
    And tyrants take alarm."

    And Gabriel said to Melchior,
    "My comrade, I will send
    My star to go before you,
    That ye may comprehend
    Where leads your mystic learning
    In a humaner trend."

    And Michael said to Gaspar,
    "Thou royal builder, go
    With tribute of thy riches!
    Though time shall overthrow
    Thy kingdom, no undoing
    His gentle might shall know."

    Then while the kings' hearts greatened
    And all the chamber shone,
    As when the hills at sundown
    Take a new glory on
    And the air thrills with purple,
    Their visitors were gone.

    Then straightway up rose Gaspar,
    Melchior and Balthasar,
    And passed out through the murmur
    Of palace and bazar,
    To make without misgiving
    The journey of the Star.

  6. A Christmas Hymn

    by John Charles McNeill

    Near where the shepherds watched by night
    And heard the angels o'er them,
    The wise men saw the starry light
    Stand still at last before them.
    No armored castle there to ward
    His precious life from danger,
    But, wrapped in common cloth, our Lord
    Lay in a lowly manger.
    No booming bells proclaimed his birth,
    No armies marshalled by,
    No iron thunders shook the earth,
    No rockets clomb the sky;
    The temples builded in his name
    Were shapeless granite then,
    And all the choirs that sang his fame
    Were later breeds of men.
    But, while the world about him slept,
    Nor cared that he was born,
    One gentle face above him kept
    Its mother watch till morn;
    And, if his baby eyes could tell
    What grace and glory were,
    No roar of gun, no boom of bell
    Were worth the look of her.
    Now praise to God that ere his grace
    Was scorned and he reviled
    He looked into his mother's face,
    A little helpless child;
    And praise to God that ere men strove
    About his tomb in war
    One loved him with a mother's love,
    Nor knew a creed therefor.

  7. Christmas Eve

    by Christopher Morley

    Our hearts to-night are open wide,
    The grudge, the grief, are laid aside:
    The path and porch are swept of snow,
    The doors unlatched; the hearthstones glow—
    No visitor can be denied.

    All tender human homes must hide
    Some wistfulness beneath their pride:
    Compassionate and humble grow
    Our hearts to-night.

    Let empty chair and cup abide!
    Who knows? Some well-remembered stride
    May come as once so long ago—
    Then welcome, be it friend or foe!
    There is no anger can divide
    Our hearts to-night.

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