by Joyce DiPastena & Francis Thompson
Here it is, Christmas Eve, and like most of us (some of us?...at least, I hope it’s not just me!), I’m running around like a Christmas goose with her head cut off, trying to finish all those “little things” that still have to be done before Christmas morning. (Wrapping Christmas gifts, stuffing the stockings, participating in whatever Christmas Eve program my sister dreams up this year, etc, etc, etc…)
Since I consequently don’t have a lot of time to write a blog, I decided instead to simply share with you a favorite poem that my mother taught me when I was a child. I think she chose it for me because I was so “shy”. (Note first line of poem.) Anyway, I’d like to share it with you today. The poem is by Francis Thompson, and is quoted on pp 94-95 of the series, Out of the Best Books, that formed a Relief Society course of study way back in the 1960s. As the editors of the book comment at the end of the poem: “Some of [the poem’s] theological details will seem inaccurate to Latter-day Saint readers—such as the reference to angels’ wings—but the poem is in all ways so lovely, so charming, so movingly spiritual that such technicalities should not be dwelt upon.”
I hope you all enjoy this poem as much as I did as a child, and continue to treasure it today!
by Francis Thompson
Little Jesus, wast Thou shy
Once, and just so small as I?
And what did it feel like to be
Out of heaven, and just like me?
Didst thou sometimes think of there,
And ask where all the angels were?
I should think that I would cry
For my house all made of sky;
I would look about the air,
And wonder where my angels were;
And at waking, ’twould distress me—
Not an angel there to dress me!
Hadst there ever any toys,
Like us little girls and boys?
And didst thou play in heaven with all
The angels, that were not too tall,
With stars as marbles? Did the things
Play Can you see me? through their wings?
Didst Thou kneel at night to pray,
And didst Thou fold Thy hands, this way?
And did they tire sometimes, being young,
And make the prayer seem very long?
And dost Thou like it best, that we
Should join our hands to pray to Thee?
I used to think, before I knew,
The prayer not said unless we do.
And did Thy Mother at the night
Kiss Thee, and fold the clothes in right?
And didst Thou feel quite good in bed,
Kissed, and sweet, and Thy prayers said?
Thou canst not have forgotten all
That it feels like to be small;
And Thou know’st I cannot pray
To thee in my father’s way—
When Thou wast so little, say,
Couldst Thou talk Thy Father’s way?
So, a little Child, come down
And hear a child’s tongue like Thy own;
Take me by the hand and walk,
And listen to my baby-talk.
To Thy Father show my prayer
(He will look, Thou art so fair),
And say, “O Father, I, Thy Son,
Bring the prayer of a little one.”
And He will smile, that children’s tongue
Has not changed since Thou wast young!
Merry Christmas to you All!