Decorating The Old Church
Gray old gardener, what do you bring?
'Laurel and ivy and bay,
With palms for the crowning of a King-
The morrow is Christmas Day.
'Holly with thorns, and berries like blood
On its shiny greenness flung.
O the pierced side, and the thorny crown,
And the cross whereon He hung!
'The mistletoe, meaning All-healing,
Hangs close to the holly's thorn,
Lest we forget that on Christmas Day
The Healer of Souls was born.
'Ivy's for faith; on the altar rail
Let it creep where all may see;
It crept till it kissed a cheek so pale
That night in Gethsemane.
'Bay's for remembrance, full and sweet;
It speaks with its fragrant breath
Of manger and cross and a lowly tomb,
And a love that conquered death.
'And laurel leaves for the wreath I bring,
The laurel for victory,
And palms for the crowning of a King-
The morrow is Christmas Day.'