So great to see the George MacDonald Society flourishing with activities like this. Hopefully this is the first of what may become an annual gathering this time of year. Thanks to those who organized it, to Malcolm Guite for welcoming and sharing his poem, “Descent,” and for all the readers. At the heart of today’s event was a reading of MacDonald’s story, “The Gifts of the Child Christ,” published in Stephen Archer and Other Tales, 1883, with an illustrated ed. in 1981. It is a poignant tale of how we are here to learn to love, how suffering and grief may be redeemed toward that end, and how Christmas-time may help us in that ongoing task.
I think I might be weary of this day
That comes inevitably every year,
The same when I was young and strong and gay,
The same when I am old and growing sere—
I should grow weary of it every year
But that thou comest to me every day.
I shall grow weary if thou every day
But come to me, Lord of eternal life;
I shall grow weary thus to watch and pray,
For ever out of labour into strife;
Take everlasting house with me, my life,
And I shall be new-born this Christmas-day.
Thou art the Eternal Son, and born no day,
But ever he the Father, thou the Son;
I am his child, but being born alway—
How long, O Lord, how long till it be done?
Be thou from endless years to years the Son—
And I thy brother, new-born every day.
George MacDonald, Poetical Works (London: Chatto & Windus, 1893), vol. II, p. 210.