Christmas, and Christmas songs

As I in hoary winter’s night stood shivering in the snow,
Surprised I was with sudden heat which made my heart to glow ;
And lifting up a fearful eye to view what fire was near,
A pretty babe all burning bright did in the air appear ;
Who, scorchëd with excessive heat, such floods of tears did shed
As though his floods should quench his flames which with his tears were fed.
Alas, quoth he, but newly born in fiery heats I fry,
Yet none approach to warm their hearts or feel my fire but I !
My faultless breast the furnace is, the fuel wounding thorns,
Love is the fire, and sighs the smoke, the ashes shame and scorns ;
The fuel justice layeth on, and mercy blows the coals,
The metal in this furnace wrought are men’s defilëd souls,
For which, as now on fire I am to work them to their good,
So will I melt into a bath to wash them in my blood.
With this he vanished out of sight and swiftly shrunk away,
And straight I callëd unto mind that it was Christmas day.
FROM St. Peter’s Complaint, 1595
THE BURNING BABE.
By Robert Southwell
Geertgen tot Sint Jans (~1490): The Nativity at Night

A happy Christmas to all.

Suggestions for festive listening:

1. The Fall “Hark The Herald Angels Sing”

2. Ed Harcourt “In the Bleak Midwinter”

3. John Legend “Oh Holy Night”

4. Big Star Jesus Christ”

5. The incomparable Al Green “Oh Holy Night”

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