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Three for Christmas Eve

Poems by Sister M. Madeleva, C.S.C.

Christmas Eve

I journeyed down to Bethlehem
In deep peace on a winter day.
I think a young girl and a man
Were with me on the way.

And in the little town at dusk
The young girl waited in the street.
The stones and I were very glad
With kissing of her feet.

A tender wind encompassed her;
The waiting world, the listening air,
The watching stars grew sweet and white
With kissing of her hair.

The earth was wise as any child
Because she was so young and wise,
And all the dark was luminous
With looking in her eyes.

Tonight I wait upon my knees
Beside her in this quiet place,
Loving the wonder in her heart,
The wonder in her face.

Bethlehem

On Christmas eve in Bethlehem town
The shadows fall; the night comes down;
The stars shine clear; the winds grow mild;
An inn stands open for a Child
On Christmas eve in Bethlehem town.

In Bethlehem on Christmas day
One manger is fresh strewn with hay,
And you will find a young Child there,
And you will find a lady fair
In Bethlehem on Christmas day.

All roads must lead to Bethlehem;
All men at last must follow them;
And be you great or be you small
The sweet Lord Jesus bless you all
Upon the roads to Bethlehem.

Christmas

This is the hour to which all hours lead.
The table is spread with fine white linen.
Bread and wine and water are set out.
A great book stands ready from which the prayers and
history of this day will be read.
We are to eat by candlelight.
The tapers are already burning.
This is a feast of love.
Christ is our host.
You and I are to be His guests.
This is Christ's Mass.
It is the hour to which all hours lead.

(all from American Twelfth Night)

The Four Last Things: Collected Poems (1959) pp. 117f, 118f, 122.

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Fri. 12/24/04 08:13:15 PM
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