Peace on earth, goodwill to all

Whatever you celebrate at this time of year, we Riskies wish you a peaceful and joyous holiday season.

I’m not religious yet I find the images of the birth in the stable powerful and moving, as is so much of the music associated with Christmas (The Messiah rather than Bing Crosby et al). I can feel the anticipation, the buildup to the big day. Here’s a poem I’m particularly fond of, written by Thomas Hardy in 1915; it’s based on English folklore that animals in the stable fall to their knees on Christmas Eve, as they did long ago in Bethlehem.

The Oxen

Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
“Now they are all on their knees,”
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearthside ease.

We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen.
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.

So fair a fancy few believe
In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve
“Come; see the oxen kneel

“In the lonely barton by yonder comb
Our childhood used to know,”
I should go with him in the gloom,
Hoping it might be so.

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6 Responses to Peace on earth, goodwill to all

  1. Lois says:

    Merry Christmas everyone!!! 🙂


  2. Cara King says:

    Yes, Merry Christmas to everyone who celebrates Christmas!

    And Happy December 25 to everyone else!

    I’m off now to my yearly extended-family gathering…lots of people, lots of food, very nice…

    And my new kittens got their first Christmas presents today…cat treats! Though I had a bit of work to get them to tear off the wrapping paper. (Why do they only rip up paper when you don’t want them to???) 😉


  3. Thanks for the poem, Janet! I was just watching the “raven Christmas” episode of “Northern Exposure” (one of my favorite shows of all time!) and Chris also related this legend on KBHR–“may your dog talk” 🙂

    Cara, my dogs ripped up plenty of paper for all pets, I think. And have already torn up one of their new toys. 🙂

  4. Merry Christmas Riskies! Janet, I love the poem and I remember the legend of the talking animals.

    My dogs and cats all got gifts from me and from their Nana so they had a ball destroying the paper and trying to destroy the gifts.

  5. Elena Greene says:

    Thanks for the poem, Janet and merry Christmas!

    Amanda, I can’t believe it but somehow I must have missed that Northern Exposure. Will have to find it on Netflix.

  6. Todd says:

    A belated Merry Christmas to everyone! And I hope everyone had a lovely winter solstice a few days ago…


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