Christmas Eves of Childhood

Image from The Bluegrass Special

Christmas Eve.

The following verses by a true woman, simple, touching, and teeming with mother-love, come to us from Monroe, Michigan:

‘Tis Christmas-eve! the tireless clock is tolling the hours away,
And my household all are sleeping, dreaming of Christmas-day,
My countless varying duties are finish’d, one by one,
Still, there’s always something left — my work is never done;
So I sit down by the cradle, my little one to rock,
And while I sing a lullaby, I knit for him a sock.

I’ve filled some little stockings with candy and with toys,
And hung them by the chimney-place, to please my darling boys.
There sleeping sweetly in their cribs, I’ve tucked the clothes in tight,
I’ve heard them say their evening prayer, and kiss’d them both good-night.
I know, that ere the daylight shall through the curtain peep,
Their Merry Christmas wishes will wake me from my sleep.

I’ve many, many thoughts to-night, and they are sad to me,
Two stockings only hang, this year, where three were wont to be;
The tears are falling thickly as I think of the day
When I laid that little stocking forevermore away;
For the happy one that hung it there not one short year ago
In yonder grave-yard quietly sleepeth ‘neath the snow.

How many little stockings, that on last Christmas-day
Were fill’d by darling little ones, have since been put away!
How many smiling faces, that to our nursery door
Came wishing “Merry Christmas,” will come again no more!
Their waxen hands are folded upon each quiet breast,
And the Sherpherd God has gather’d those little lambs to rest.

How many pleasant visions, and, oh what sad ones too,
With each succeeding Christmas-eve come vividly to view!
I see again my childhood’s home, and every loved one’s face;
The stockings hanging, as of yore, around the chimney-place,
From the wee red one of baby’s to grandpa’s sock of gray, —
Each in its own accustom’d place, not even one away.

But the pleasant vision passes, and one of darker shade
Reveals how many changes each Christmas-eve has made;
For those whose stockings hung there so closely side by side,
In happy days of childhood, are scatter’d far and wide!
A few still linger here to see this Christmas-eve pass by,
But many, many more to-night within the churchyard lie.

The baby’s sock is finish’d — ’tis sprinkled o’er with tears;
Where will his tiny footsteps wander in future years?
Perhaps this innocent will live to see as I have done,
The Christmas-eves of childhood steal onward one by one;
But whether a life of sorrow, or whether a life of joy,
I feel that I can trust with God my m???-loved baby boy.

The clock has struck the hour of twelve! I’ve put the sock away,
And by the baby’s cradle I now kneel down to pray —
To ask that loving Saviour who on Christmas morn was given
To save our souls from sin and death, and fit us all for Heaven,
That He would guide our footsteps, and fill us with his love,
That we may sing together a Christmas hymn above.

The Burlington Weekly Hawkeye (Burlington, Iowa) Dec 26, 1863

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