How bird-like o’er the flakes of snow
Its fairy footsteps flew!
And on its soft and childish brow
How delicate the hue!
And expectation wings its feet,
And stirs its infant smile;
The merry bells their chime repeat;
The child stands still the while.
Then clasps in joy its little hand;
Then marks the Christian dome;
The stranger child, in stranger land,
Feels now as if at home.
It runs along the sparkling ground;
Its face with gladness beams;
It frolics in the blaze around,
Which from each window gleams.
The shadows dance upon the wall,
Reflected from the trees;
And from the branches, green and tall,
The glittering gifts it sees.
It views within the lighted hall
The charm of social love;
O, what a joyous festival!
‘Tis sanctioned from above.
But now the childish heart’s unstrung:
“Where is my taper’s light?
And why no evergreen been hung
With toys for me tonight?
“In my sweet home there was a band
Of holy love for me;
A mother’s kind and tender hand
Once decked my Christmas-tree.
“Oh, some one take me ‘neath the blaze
Of those light tapers, do!
And, children, I can feel the plays;
O, let me play with you!
“I care not for the prettiest toy;
I want the love of home;
O, let me in your playful joy,
Forget I have to roam!”
The little fragile hand is raised,
It strikes at every gate;
In every window earnest gazed,
Then ‘mid the now it sat.
“Christkindle! Thou, the children’s friend,
I’ve none to love me now!
Hast thou forgot my tree to send,
With lights on every bough?”
The baby’s hands are numbed with frost,
Yet press the little cloak;
Then on its breast in meekness crossed,
A sigh the silence broke.
And closer still the cloak it drew
Around its silken hair;
Its pretty eyes, so clear and blue,
Alone defied the air.
Then came another pilgrim child,
A shining light he held,
The accents fell so sweet and mild,
All music they excelled.
“I am thy Christmas friend, indeed,
And once a child like thee,
When all forget, thy need’st not plead.
I will adorn thy tree.
“My joys are felt in street or bower,
My aid is everywhere;
Thy Christmas-tree, my precious flower,
Here, in the open air,
“Shall far outshine those other trees,
Which caught thy infant eye.”
The stranger child looks up, and sees,
Far, in the deep blue sky,
A glorious tree, and stars among,
The branches hang their light,
The child, with soul all music, sung.
“My tree indeed is bright!”
As ‘neath the power of a dream
The infant closed its eyes,
And troops of radiant angels seem
Descending from the skies,
The baby to its Christ they bear;
With Jesus it shall live;
It finds a home and treasure there
Sweeter than earth can give.