"The Cultivation of Christmas Trees" by T.S. Eliot

There are several attitudes towards Christmas,Some of which we may disregard: The social, the torpid, the patently commercial, The rowdy (the pubs being open till midnight), And the childish — which is not that of the child For whom the candle is a star, and the gilded angel Spreading its wings at the summit of the tree Is not only a decoration, but an angel.

The child wonders at the Christmas Tree: Let him continue in the spirit of wonder At the Feast as an event not accepted as a pretext; So that the glittering rapture, the amazement Of the first-remembered Christmas Tree, So that the surprises, delight in new possessions (Each one with its peculiar and exciting smell), The expectation of the goose or turkey And the expected awe on its appearance,

So that the reverence and the gaiety May not be forgotten in later experience, In the bored habituation, the fatigue, the tedium, The awareness of death, the consciousness of failure, Or in the piety of the convert Which may be tainted with a self-conceit Displeasing to God and disrespectful to children (And here I remember also with gratitude St. Lucy, her carol, and her crown of fire):

So that before the end, the eightieth Christmas (By “eightieth” meaning whichever is last) The accumulated memories of annual emotion May be concentrated into a great joy Which shall be also a great fear, as on the occasion When fear came upon every soul: Because the beginning shall remind us of the end And the first coming of the second coming.

eliot-john-cox

art © by John Cox

thanx to brainpickings for the tip off

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