About Holidays

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10 Christmas Poems of Old and New - Beautiful Words for the Holiday

  • Brannon Deibert
10 Christmas Poems of Old and New - Beautiful Words for the Holiday
Discover 10 Christmas poems both traditional and modern to warm your heart this holiday season. Christmas Poetry that dates back hundreds of years is still admired and read today. May these Christmas poems bring you joy and serenity as you celebrate with family and friends!
Traditional Christmas Poems

Traditional Christmas Poems

1. Christmas is Coming

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat.

Please put a penny in the old man's hat.

If you haven't got a penny, a ha'penny will do. 

If you haven't got a ha'penny, then God bless you!

 

The small poem above is a traditional nursery rhyme often sung in rounds during the Christmas season.

 

2. Christmas Bells

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

I heard the bells on Christmas Day

Their old, familiar carols play,

And wild and sweet

The words repeat

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

 

And thought how, as the day had come,

The belfries of all Christendom

Had rolled along

The unbroken song

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

 

Till, ringing, singing on its way

The world revolved from night to day,

A voice, a chime,

A chant sublime

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

 

Then from each black, accursed mouth

The cannon thundered in the South,

And with the sound

The Carols drowned

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

 

And in despair I bowed my head;

‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said;

‘For hate is strong,

And mocks the song

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!’

 

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:

‘God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!

The Wrong shall fail,

The Right prevail,

With peace on earth, good-will to men!’

 

3. Minstrels 

by William Wordsworth 

 

The minstrels played their Christmas tune

To-night beneath my cottage-eaves;

While, smitten by a lofty moon,

The encircling laurels, thick with leaves,

Gave back a rich and dazzling sheen,

That overpowered their natural green. 

 

Through hill and valley every breeze

Had sunk to rest with folded wings:

Keen was the air, but could not freeze,

Nor check, the music of the strings;

So stout and hardy were the band

That scraped the chords with strenuous hand. 

 

And who but listened?—till was paid

Respect to every inmate's claim,

The greeting given, the music played

In honour of each household name,

Duly pronounced with lusty call,

And "Merry Christmas" wished to all. 

 

4. Christmas Past

by Carice Williams

 

Each Christmas I remember

The ones of long ago;

I see our mantelpiece adorned

With stockings in a row.

 

Each Christmas finds me dreaming

Of days that used to be,

When we hid presents here and there,

For all the family.

 

Each Christmas I remember

The fragrance in the air,

Of roasting turkey and mince pies

And cookies everywhere.

 

Each Christmas finds me longing

For Christmases now past,

And I am back in childhood

As long as memories last.

Modern Christmas Poems

Modern Christmas Poems

5. The Carols

Christmas is finally here

The sound of the carols fill the cold air

Singing joyfully those Christmas songs

And the hearers can merrily sing along.

Every note, every line

Digs into my heart so divine

Angelic voices resounding in the night

Along with the guitar strummed in delight.

The Carols shift from hymns to jives

Sounding glorious as the melody thrives

Filled with awe as I harden quietly

The night is cold but peace overwhelms me.

 

 

6. The 26th of December

Galway Kinnell, 1927 - 2014

 

A Tuesday, day of Tiw,

god of war, dawns in darkness.

The short holiday day of talking by the fire,

floating on snowshoes among

ancient self-pollarded maples,

visiting, being visited, giving

a rain gauge, receiving red socks,

watching snow buntings nearly over

their heads in snow stab at spirtled bits

of sunflower seeds the chickadees

hold with their feet to a bough

and hack apart, scattering debris

like sloppy butchers, is over.

Irregular life begins. Telephone calls,

Google searches, evasive letters,

complicated arrangements, faxes,

second thoughts, consultations,

e-mails, solemnly given kisses.

Famous Christmas Hymns (that were once Poems)

Famous Christmas Hymns (that were once Poems)

7. O Little Town of Bethlehem

O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.
For Christ is born of Mary, and gathered all above,
While mortals sleep, the angels keep their watch of wondering love.
O morning stars together, proclaim the holy birth,
And praises sing to God the King, and peace to men on earth!
How silently, how silently, the wondrous Gift is giv’n;
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His Heav’n.
No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in.
Where children pure and happy pray to the blessèd Child,
Where misery cries out to Thee, Son of the mother mild;
Where charity stands watching and faith holds wide the door,
The dark night wakes, the glory breaks, and Christmas comes once more.
O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel!

8. Christmas Bells

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1807 - 1882

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men! 

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men! 

Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men! 

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men! 

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn 
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men! 

And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth," I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!” 

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.”

9. Silent Night

by Joseph Mohr

Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child
Holy Infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

Silent night, holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight
Glories stream from heaven afar
Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ, the Saviour is born
Christ, the Saviour is born

Silent night, holy night
Son of God, love's pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth "

10. Cradle Hymn or "Away in a Manger

by Martin Luther

Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
The little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head.
The stars in the bright sky looked down where he lay—
the little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay. 

The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes,
But little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes.
I love thee, Lord Jesus! look down from the sky,
And stay by my cradle till morning is nigh.

Read more about the History and Origin of the Christmas Tradition


This article is part of our larger Christmas and Advent resource library centered around the events leading up to the birth of Jesus Christ. We hope these articles help you understand the meaning and story behind important Christian holidays and dates and encourage you as you take time to reflect on all that God has done for us through his son Jesus Christ!

What is Christmas? Understanding History, Origin and Traditions
Christmas Eve History and Traditions
The History of Santa Claus: Origin of St. Nicholas & Christmas Traditions
When Was Jesus Born? History of December 25th
Where Was Jesus Born? 5 Things to Know about Bethlehem
The Birth of Jesus: Bible Story and Scripture Verses
Why Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh Were Given to Baby Jesus
What is Advent: Definition & Meaning Behind Christmas Tradition
Advent Wreath & Candles - Understanding the History, Meaning, and Tradition
The History and Meaning of the Advent Calendar
Christmas Bible Verses & Scripture Story
Christmas Prayers

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