Along by merry Christmas time Along by merry Christmas time they buy the aged goose, And boil the dread plum pudding, because of ancient use. But to sneer at old time customs would be nothing but a crime,| For the memory of the Past is all bound up in Christmas time. Then Jim comes home from shearing, and he puts a few away, With Dad, perhaps, or Uncle, but they’re right on Christmas Day: For be it on the Never, or ‘neath the church bells’ chime, The family gets together, if they can, at Christmas time. And, after tea at Christmas, they clear the things away And play the dear old silly games our grand-folk used to play And Dad gives a recitation that used to be the joy Of all the Western countryside, when Father was a boy. Along by merry Christmas time, and ere the week is o’er We meet and fix up quarrels that each was sorry for. Our hearts are filled with kindness and forgiveness sublime, For no one knows where one may be next merry Christmas time. Henry Lawson (1867 – 1922)
S1 – Christmas is all about remembering the past. The birth of Christ and friends and family that are, or have been, dear to us.
At Christmas we reflect on people that are not with us … always hard to come to terms with loss of the precious in our life. But can love deal with the loss of a recent family member. Here is a poignant poem by Louisa Lawson, the mother of Henry Lawson – A Mother’s Answer – Louisa Lawson | my word in your ear
Henry Lawson’s easy flowing rhymed poem was written in 1913, maybe the plum pudding was not what it is today. An aged goose doesn’t sound attractive either. How many people in Australia are planning to eat goose this year, not exactly a first choice! In fact a meat I have never eaten.
S2 – Christmas is all about bringing family and friends together. And regardless of where the family gather – the Never, Never – the outback, or whether the family congregates at Church together. Food and drink are always to the fore. The variety of food and drink on offer has expanded considerably since I was a boy. And many items that were a luxury for us at Christmas are now commonplace throughout the year.
S3 – Christmas is all about sharing family play. And being accepting of the previous generation in the games they used to play. There are always well-known familiar stories associated with relatives in conjunction with the play. And listening without comment maybe hard for the younger generation, however boring! And when I was growing up music renditions by those who could play, piano and violin from my mother and an uncle come to mind.
S4 – Christmas is all about forgetting squabbles and forgiving. And the last line tells us unequivocally to make the best of the time together; for who knows where family and friends will be next Christmas.
Henry Lawson is best known for being a master of the short story – ‘While the Billy Boils’ – rather than his poetry. Although an Australian theme the Christmas expression in this poem has wide universal association in the Western World.
So what can I say – make the most of this coming Christmas Day.