Friday, December 25, 2009

‘The Craftsman of Nazareth’

     
The Craftsman of Nazareth
(A Chistmas morning Reverie)

Beside the bench He stood with square in hand,
Around His feet the clinging shavings twined,
Odorous woods sent forth their sweet perfume,
Thoughts sadly pensive weighed down the mind.

There stood the Master Workman, skilled of hand,
While sunlight streamed in at the door,
Its dancing beams lit all the flying dust
And threw quaint shadows on the walls and floor.

At last, with labor and with thought opprest,
The Craftsman straightens up His figure tall.
With outstretched arms, to sun He turns His breast,
His shadow marks a cross against the wall.

Our Knights Great Light! Thy willing Templar sons
Patrol no more the roads of Palestine,
No longer theirs the implements of war,
But in their thands the tools of trade are seen.

Sometimes we weaken, as we stumble oft.
Eternal grinds the tedium of our days.
All that we see when sunshine brightly streams,
Is shadowed cross – not splendor of its rays.

Grant us more light into our blinded eyes,
Above the shadows lift our errant gaze.
With holy fire touch our Templar throng,
And keep our feet within Thy narrow ways.

Oh, Prince of poverty, exceeding rich!
Today the conscience hears Thy clarion call,
This day we dedicate ourselves to Thee –
Thou Servant of men, Thou Master of all.

Bro. Robert I. Clegg
From The Palestine Bulletin, Detroit
April 1914


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On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity


by John Milton
(1608-1674)

This is the month, and this the happy morn
Wherein the Son of Heav’n’s eternal King,
Of wedded Maid, and Virgin Mother born,
Our great redemption from above did bring;
For so the holy sages once did sing,
That he our deadly forfeit should release,
And with his Father work us a perpetual peace.

II

That glorious Form, that Light unsufferable,
And that far-beaming blaze of Majesty,
Wherewith he wont at Heav’n’s high council-table,
To sit the midst of Trinal Unity,
He laid aside, and here with us to be,
Forsook the courts of everlasting day,
And chose with us a darksome house of mortal clay.

III

Say Heav’nly Muse, shall not thy sacred vein
Afford a present to the Infant God?
Hast thou no verse, no hymn, or solemn strain,
To welcome him to this his new abode,
Now while the heav’n, by the Sun’s team untrod,
Hath took no print of the approaching light,
And all the spangled host keep watch in squadrons bright?

IV

See how from far upon the eastern road
The star-led wizards haste with odours sweet:
O run, prevent them with thy humble ode,
And lay it lowly at his blessed feet;
Have thou the honour first thy Lord to greet,
And join thy voice unto the angel quire,
From out his secret altar touched with hallowed fire.


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Those of a certain age possess a special appreciation for this. If, like me, you have not seen it in decades, its value only increases.
Merry Christmas wishes to my Christian brethren and their families!
     

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