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The Light of the Child

BY Simcha Fisher

| Posted 12/24/13 at 2:46 PM

 

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.