Header block
add Row
add block
Block 8
Row 1
2 Minutes Read

The Cultivation of Christmas Trees

One of my much loved and respected tutors from my time at “Vicar School” at Ridley Hall was Adrian Chatfield (you can find out more about him here) https://www.ridley.cam.ac.uk/about/people/adrian-chatfield. 

He once shared this poem, The Cultivation of Christmas Trees, which I thought I would pass on as I had not come across this one before and it really resonated with me….maybe it will with you? 

I have to admit that I had to look up St Lucy whom Eliot mentions in the poem! (Find out more here! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Lucy's_Day

It turns out her feast day is coming up on the weekend I write this. For me this poem helped me to focus on the true meaning of Christmas. I wonder what it will make you feel?

Adrian says: “In Cambridge TS Eliot wrote this poem on the less attractive sides of Christmas, and you have to read to the end to engage with the theological gem.”

The Cultivation of Christmas Trees 

 There are several attitudes towards Christmas, 

 Some of which we may disregard: 

 The social, the torpid, the patently commercial, 

 The rowdy (the pubs being open till midnight), 

 And the childish - which is not that of the child 

 For whom the candle is a star, and the gilded angel 

 Spreading its wings at the summit of the tree 

 Is not only a decoration, but an angel.

The child wonders at the Christmas Tree: 

 Let him continue in the spirit of wonder 

 At the Feast as an event not accepted as a pretext; 

 So that the glittering rapture, the amazement 

 Of the first-remembered Christmas Tree, 

 So that the surprises, delight in new possessions 

 (Each one with its peculiar and exciting smell), 

 The expectation of the goose or turkey 

 And the expected awe on its appearance,

 So that the reverence and the gaiety 

 May not be forgotten in later experience, 

 In the bored habituation, the fatigue, the tedium, 

 The awareness of death, the consciousness of failure, 

 Or in the piety of the convert 

 Which may be tainted with a self-conceit 

 Displeasing to God and disrespectful to children 

 (And here I remember also with gratitude 

 St.Lucy, her carol, and her crown of fire):

So that before the end, the eightieth Christmas 

 (By "eightieth" meaning whichever is last) 

 The accumulated memories of annual emotion 

 May be concentrated into a great joy 

 Which shall be also a great fear, as on the occasion 

 When fear came upon every soul: 

 Because the beginning shall remind us of the end 

 And the first coming of the second coming. 

Rev. Jokey Poyntz 

Team Vicar St Mary's Little Parndon 

Deanery Missioner & Youth Champion; coordinator Harlow Holiday Lunch 

Clubs/Harlow Boxes of Hope The Vicarage 4a The Drive Harlow CM20 3QD



Write A Comment

Related Posts All Posts
add Row
add block