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Christmas Poem, Robert Southwell

As Christmas draws near, I wanted to share a favorite Christmas poem. This is actually only a portion of the poem, but it is the most relevant and best part. I appreciate how the poet moves appropriately from the “baby” imagery to the purpose of the incarnation- “to rifle Satan’s fold” (“The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil,” 1 John 3:8).

New Heaven, New War

This little Babe so few days old,
Is come to rifle Satan’s fold;
All hell doth at his presence quake,
Though he himself for cold do shake;
For in this weak, unarmed wise,
The gates of hell he will surprise.

With tears he fights and wins the field,
His naked breast stands for a shield;
His battering shot are babish cries,
His arrows made of weeping eyes,
His martial ensigns cold and need,
And feeble flesh his warrior’s steed.

His camp is pitched in a stall,
His bulwark but a broken wall;
The crib his trench, hay stalks his stakes,
Of shepherds he his muster makes;
And thus as sure his foe to wound,
The Angels’ trumps alarum sound.

My soul with Christ join thou in fight,
Stick to the tents that he hath dight;
Within his crib is surest ward,
This little Babe will be thy guard;
If thou wilt foil thy foes with joy,
Then flit not from the heavenly boy.

By Robert Southwell

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