Helen Hunt Jackson

Helen Hunt Jackson



A Christmas Symphony

by Helen Hunt Jackson

Not alone because His name is Christ.


Christmas stars! your pregnant silentness,
Mute syllabled in rhythmic light,
Leads on to-night,
And beckons, as three thousand years ago
It beckoning led. We, simple shepherds, know
Little we can confess,
Beyond that we are poor, and creep
And wander with our sheep,
Who love and follow us. We hear,
If we attend, a singing in the sky;
But feel no fear,
Knowing that God is always nigh,
And none pass by,
Except His Sons, who cannot bring
Tidings of evil, since they sing.
Wise men with gifts are hurrying,
In haste to seek the meaning of the Star,
In search of worship which is new and far.
We are but humble, so we keep
On through the night, contented with our sheep,
And with the stars. Between us and the east,
No wall, no tree, no cloud, lifts bar.
We know the sunrise. Not one least
Of all its tokens can escape
Our eyes that watch. But all days are
As nights, and nights as days,
In our still ways.
We have no dread of any shape
Which darkness can assume or fill;
We are not weary; we can wait;
God's hours are never late.
The wise men say they will return,
Revealing unto us the things they learn.
Mayhap! Meantime the Star stands still;
And, having that, we have the Sign.
If we mistake, God is divine!


Oh, not alone because His name is Christ,
Oh, not alone because Judea waits
This man-child for her King, the Star stands still.
Its glory reinstates,
Beyond humiliation's utmost ill,
On peerless throne, which she alone can fill,
Each earthly woman. Motherhood is priced
Of God, at price no man may dare
To lessen, or misunderstand.
The motherhood which came
To virgin sets in vestal flame,
Fed by each new-born infant's hand,
With Heaven's air,
With Heaven's food,
The crown of purest purity revealed,
Virginity eternal signed and sealed
Upon all motherhood!


Oh, not alone because His name is Christ,
Oh, not alone because Judea waits
This man-child for her King, the Star stands still.
The Babe has mates.
Childhood shall be forever on the earth;
And no man who has hurt or lightly priced
So much as one sweet hair
On one sweet infant's head,
But shall be cursed! Henceforth all things fulfil
Protection to each sacred birth.
No spot shall dare
Refuse a shelter. Beasts shall tread
More lightly; and distress,
And poverty, and loneliness,
Yea, and all darkness, shall devise
To shield each place wherein an infant lies.
And wisdom shall come seeking it with gift,
And worship it with myrrh and frankincense;

And kings shall tremble if it lift
Its hand against a throne.
But mighty in its own
Great feebleness, and safe in God's defence,
No harm can touch it, and no death can kill,
Without its Father's will!


Oh, not alone because His name is Christ,
Oh, not alone because Judea waits
This man-child for her King, the Star stands still.
The universe must utter, and fulfil
The mighty voice which states,
The mighty destiny which holds,
Its key-note and its ultimate design.
Waste places and the deserts must perceive
That they are priced,
No less than gardens in the Heart Divine.
Sorrow her sorrowing must leave,
And learn one sign
With joy. And Loss and Gain
Must be no more.
And all things which have gone before,
And all things which remain,
And all of Life, and all of Death be slain
In mighty birth, whose name
Is called Redemption! Praise!
Praise to God! The same
To-day and yesterday, and in all days
Forever! Praise!


Oh, Christmas stars! Your pregnant silentness,
Mute syllabled in rhythmic light,
Fills all the night.
No doubt, on all your golden shores,
Full music rings
Of Happiness
As sweet as ours.
Midway in that great tideless stream which pours,
And builds its shining road through trackless space,
From you to us, and us to you, must be
Some mystic place,
Where all our voices meet, and melt
Into this solemn silence which is felt,
And sense of sound mysterious brings
Where sound is not. This is God's secret. He
Sits centred in his myriads of skies,
Where seas of sound and seas of silence rise,
And break together in one note and key,
Divinely limitless in harmony!


Copyright 1888
Roberts Brothers, Boston