‘Love Came Down at Christmas’
By: Brenda Harrison
My grandmother loved the poet, Christina Georgina Rossetti. She obviously favored her name as well because she named my mother Christina Rossetti.
Recently, I was reminded of Rossetti’s poem, “Love Came Down at Christmas,” which she penned in 1885.
Below is this lovely message:
Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, love divine;
Love was born at Christmas,
Star and angels gave the sign.
Worship we the Godhead,
Love incarnate, love divine;
Worship we our Jesus:
But wherewith for sacred sign?
Love shall be our token,
Love shall be yours and love be mine,
Love to God and to all men,
Love for plea and gift and sign.
According to Wikipedia, this poem has been set to music as a Christmas carol by many composers, including Harold Darke, Leo Sowerby, John Kelsall and John Rutter. It is also sung to the traditional Irish melody “Garton”.
More recently, the poem was given a modern treatment by Christian band Jars of Clay on their 2007 album, “Christmas Songs.”
American composer Jennifer Higdon set the text for solo soprano, harp and four-part chorus.
A new setting by the British composer David J Loxley-Blount was performed in Southwark Cathedral on Dec. 8, 2014 by the Financial Times Choir conducted by Paul Ayres. It was repeated by the Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree on Dec. 11, 2014.
Christina Rossetti (1830-1894), born in London, was a devout Anglican and most of her poetic output is religious. Two of her most famous poems are ones for “Christmastide: In the Bleak Midwinter and Love Came Down at Christmas.”
Love Came Down at Christmas is such a lovely sentiment to think about as we celebrate ‘the reason for the season.’
Merry Christmas, dear readers, and as Tiny Tim said in Charles Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol:”
“A Merry Christmas to us all; God bless us, every one!”