Oh, I am glad to know,
Those Christmas days of long ago,
To see the candle-lighted tree
With all the pomp of mystery,
To stand before it open-eyed
As some new tinseled toy I spied.
To wake before the dawn had come
And find beside my bed a drum,
And then to rouse the house with joy
As now does many a little boy.
Those glorious Christmas days, it seems,
Have vanished in the mist of dreams,
Yet other little boys must know
The self-same charms of long ago;
But there’s no table long drawn out
For all the folks to sit about.
No shouts of glee, no welcoming smile
To those who’d driven miles and miles
To be with us and share the day —
Those good old friends were called away.
The mother smiling at the door,
Her eyes with tears just brimming o’er,
Glad tears that seemed so strange to me,
I wondered oft how they could be.
Because, till I’d grown old, I thought
That Christmas day with joy was fraught,
And didn’t understand or know
That it is touched with grief and woe,
And howsoever large the list,
There always is a loved one missed.
The gifts were simple then, but oh,
With love they set all eyes aglow!
For ivory pen or picture framed
“Just what I wanted!” each exclaimed,
“How did you guess, Aunt Jane, that I
This very thing had longed to buy?”
Love’s altar candles were aflame
As we produced our big surprise
Which brought the tears into her eyes.
But we who were the children then
Are now the women and the men;
The girls are mothers and they cry
As mothers did in days gone by,
And I have learned through changing scenes,
Just what the Christmas morning means;
I feel their kisses on my cheek,
And find it difficult to speak —
I’ve come to understand, and know
Just how they felt so long ago.
By Edgar A. Guest
Ogden Standard Examiner (Ogden, Utah) Dec 22, 1920
Appleton Post Crescent (Appleton, Wisconsin) Dec 22, 1921