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The Light of the Child

12/24/2013 Comments (4)

Many years ago, my father Phillip Prever wrote a melody for Chesterton's poem, "A Christmas Carol."  There was harmony and a descant, too, but who knows where they are now -- in an attic, tucked into a book, or just gone.  Here is the poem:

The Christ-child lay on Mary's lap,
His hair was like a light.
(O weary, weary were the world,
But here is all aright.)

The Christ-child lay on Mary's breast
His hair was like a star.
(O stern and cunning are the kings,
But here the true hearts are.)

The Christ-child lay on Mary's heart,
His hair was like a fire.
(O weary, weary is the world,
But here the world's desire.)

The Christ-child stood on Mary's knee,
His hair was like a crown,
And all the flowers looked up at Him,
And all the stars looked down.


And here is the music my father wrote:

The contrast between light and dark, weariness and desire, brings to mind the apocalyptic imagination of William Blake, and I was sure that I'd find the perfect illustration for this poem among his works -- but instead, I think this one will do:  

"The New Born Baby" by Georges de la Tour (1593 – 1652)  

See how, rather than shielding the baby's eye's from the candle light, it almost looks as if the figure on the left is receiving light from him -- maybe warming her hands by his light.

Some of us have had a holy and fruitful Advent; some of us have almost been overwhelmed with the darkness and the weariness.  Maybe we won't be overwhelmed by a world-shaking flood of light and glory when the child is born.  Maybe we can just draw a little nearer to that light.

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About Simcha Fisher

Simcha Fisher
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Simcha Fisher, author of The Sinner's Guide to Natural Family Planning writes for several publications and blogs daily at Aleteia. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and ten children. Without supernatural aid, she would hardly be a human being.