Excerpted from The Holy Infancy (The Saviour of the World – Vol. 1)
by Charlotte M. Mason
Part of an epic six volume set of poetry on the life of Christ.
Nativity Scene by Anton Raphael Mengs, 18th Century oil on canvas
IT came to pass, there went out a decree
From Caesar Augustus to enroll the world:
Each one to his own place, the people went.
And Joseph, too, went out of Nazareth,
City of Galilee, to Bethlehem,
King David’s city in Judæa, for he
Of David’s lineage was; and took with him
Mary, his espoused wife, being great with child
For her, they journeyed slow; and when they reached
Bethlehem, behold, the Khan was full of folk
Who all had come to register their names
And groups sate here and there, and talked and ate.
Now, Mary’s hour was come, and she was full
Of anguish, with no place to house her in;
So Joseph, anxious, brought her to the byre
Wherein the travelers’ beasts were housed, and there
Found room for her: and, lo, the beasts were still
Nor gave annoy, what time he, careful, made
What poor provision for his wife he might:
Cold was the night and still, when, thus alone,
The mother bare the Son; and none did see
The brightness of His Rising, save the two.
In swathing bands, she in a manger laid,
For shelter from the cold, the princely Child:
Nor knew that there she laid the BREAD OF LIFE
Where ass and oxen for their fodder came.
Not, from His infant birth, the Son of Man
Had where to lay His head in this His world,
But shared the common place the cattle used.
Bless’d Virgin, who didst bear the WORLD’S DELIGHT!
Bless’d Joseph, who first saw the wondrous sight!
Good byre, which sheltered Him from rude affright!
Kind cattle, graced above all beasts that night!
“I was an outcast from my mother’s womb.”
“While yet I hanged upon my mother’s breasts,
Thou wast my hope.”
“There was no room for them in the inn.”
by Charlotte Mason
from “The Holy Infancy“
The Saviour of the World – Volume One