church year and seasons, Uncategorized
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The Cultivation of Christmas Trees

I came across this beautiful poem by T.S. Eliot– “The Cultivation of Christmas Trees” a few years ago. I think it is the perfect reminder of what we are aiming for in all of our Advent preparations and attempt to fully celebrate Christmastide. This is what we want for our children and for ourselves– that the “accumulated memories of annual emotion” might be “concentrated into a great joy, which shall be also a great fear.”

The Cultivation of Christmas Trees

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.

T.S. Eliot

 

This entry was posted in: church year and seasons, Uncategorized

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Wife of Jon, mother of two little girls, and reader of all the things. I am committed to cultivating and passing down a love for the true, good, and beautiful.

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