Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Christmas Book and The Ballad of Befana



Well, the days are tumbling off of the calendar faster than the rising anticipation in a child's eyes. Crowds still are hurrying and scurrying trying to get in the last of their shopping done. Most everything I needed to do at this point, is done. Save for the food items which I will get in the next couple of days. The shopping malls, as far as I was concerned, did not appear as chaotic as I had expected. Either people are a little more organized with their shopping or have scaled it down some. I did hear some crying though and saw a few rivers of tears flowing. Some of it was even coming from children. But all in all, I didn't think it was that bad. Maybe I'm just looking only for the good.

About an hour or so ago, I did go out and be a kid for a little while. Sorry no pics....forgot my camera but I will take some next time. Anyways, in the city where I live, we have a skating rink in front of our City Hall. So, our neighbouring city decided that they too, wanted to do something similar for their fair citizens. I live right on the cusp of the two, so I get to share in everything. They installed it in front of one of the shopping plazas and today was the “Grand Opening” for the rink. Needless to say, I needed to get out and give it a spin, wonky knee and all. It was fun just to skate around weaving in and out of the parents holding onto their children as well as some of the adults who were just learning how to skate. Let's just say that there were a few snowy bottoms. I didn't want to overdo it because I want to get back to hockey in the coming year but, I still had fun. There is just something captivating about a crowd of smiling happy faces enjoying the winter this close to Christmas.

Anyways, as of noon on Christmas Eve, I will be off of work until the New Year and I am looking forward to that break more than I thought I would. It's been a busy year with a lot of change and now I can take some much needed time to rest and reflect. My plan is to not try and visit everybody in one day. Santa, it seems has that job pretty well covered so I will leave that miracle to him. I plan on spreading it out a bit, stretching it out as long as I can. Less stress that way I figure. I'm guessing that many of you are in the same boat and are just trying to survive the next few days before enjoying your time with family and friends. Just take it easy and enjoy the time. There is no such thing as a perfect Christmas at least not counting the first one. And with that, I will leave you with this poem that I dug out of my favourite Christmas book called, appropriately enough, 'The Book of Christmas'. The title of the poem is , 'The Ballad of Befana (An Epiphany Legend)' and was written by Phyllis McGinley. Enjoy!

The Ballad of Befana
(An Epiphany Legend)


Befana the Housewife, scrubbing her pane,
Saw three old sages ride down the lane,
Saw three gray travelers pass her door -
Gaspar, Balthazar, Melchior.

"Where journey you, sirs?" she asked of them.
Balthazar answered, "To Bethlehem,

For we have news of a marvelous thing.
Born in a stable is Christ the King."

"Give Him my welcome!"
Then Gaspar smiled,
"Come with us, mistress, to greet the Child."

"Oh, happily, happily would I fare,
Were my dusting through and I'd polished the stair."

Old Melchior leaned on his saddle horn.
"Then send but a gift to the small Newborn."

"Oh, gladly, gladly I'd send Him one,
Were the hearthstone swept and my weaving done.

"As soon as ever I've baked my bread,
I'll fetch Him a pillow for His head,
And a coverlet too," Befana said.

"When the rooms are aired and the linen dry,
I'll look at the Babe."
But the Three rode by.

She worked for a day and a night and a day,
Then, gifts in her hands, took up her way.
But she never could find where the Christ Child lay.

And still she wanders at Christmastide,
Houseless, whose house was all her pride,

Whose heart was tardy, whose gifts were late;
Wanders, and knocks at every gate,
Crying, "Good people, the bells begin!
Put off your toiling and let love in."

12 comments:

lakeviewer said...

I never heard this poem before now; the story makes sense, though it is not the story I remember of the Befana.

Merry Days ahead.
Joy and peace to you.

Michelle said...

Merry Christmas Bogey! With bells on....

Nancy said...

Merry Christmas, Bogey, and thanks so much for the poem. I hope you get that much needed rest and have fun visiting. I am with my children and grandson, doing all the things you mentioned. Life is good. Enjoy.

Natalie said...

Phew! That gives me an official reason to clean the house AFTER Christmas. Bless You friend.xx♥

smiles4u said...

What a smile you give me this Monday morning. You are such a blessing Bogey. I hope you know how your words are such an encouragement to those of us that read you. As I read about your going ice skating, it put such a smile on my face. How I would love to skate like that!

How nice that you are going to have this time off. I do pray that you get to just enjoy the people in your life and doing things you enjoy. Some how I know you will. :)

Thanks for sharing this poem...so fitting!

I am so thankful to have met you and that this friendship we have is of such value to me. Thank you! Happy Monday my dear friend! Love and hugs sent your way, Lori

TechnoBabe said...

Hi there, I am so impressed with your skating skills. I grew up in southern California and didn't skate except occasional roller skating with other teens at a roller rink. The way you describe skating outdoors sounds like so much fun. I am so glad that you are into the holiday spirit like you are and writing about it in your blog. Just a few more days and then you have a week off work and I can tell you are looking forward to seeing friends. There is a good lesson in the poem, thanks for posting that. Blessings to you, sir, for a wonderful Christmas and time off work which is needed and important to you. Merry Christmas!

Shammickite said...

Today is the first installment of Christmas for me... yes, I'm having a family Christmas with my 2 sons, 2 DILs and 2 grandsons, oh yes, and my grandpuppy! Then on Christmas Day I'll be with my older son's MIL and family, I'm so looking forward to it as I've been going through a rough patch just recently, worrying about the future. But I'm going to let it all drift away for a few days and chill out. Wish I could join you on the skating rink but I'm not a skater. Grew up where there was no ice and no skating rinks. BTW my son knows your area very well, he spent 4 years at Laurier.

Lori ann said...

Dear Bogey, thank you for the most wonderful start to this monday morning. I enjoyed so much going with you shopping, skating! and I have to say I am envious of your time off. I'm looking forward to 4 days, the 24th through the 27th. A break that will probably not be too restful for me, but fun nevertheless!
enjoy these days dear friend,
Merry Christmas!
xo Lori

Renee said...

I love it Bogey, you are a dear person with all of the best qualities.

Love Renee xoxoxo

Amel's Realm said...

LOVE the poem! And your plan sounds good. Well, we're not going to visit too many people - just visiting 2 cemeteries, an aunt, and then off to my in-laws to spend a night there on Christmas eve (in the morning). Unfortunately R2 has to be on call starting on 26th for a week, so we have to stay home then. BUT we're going to go to Helsinki on 7th-9th and I'm looking forward to that. ;-D

Renee said...

Merry Christmas dear Bogey.

I am so happy that we have become friends.

Love Renee xoxo

Bogey said...

To all of you very special people, your presence here is enough to fill my heart with a Christmas Joy that will not soon be forgotten. It has been very special to be able to share the best of the Christmas Season with people who literally span the globe. Now how cool is that? We are a unique blend of people who travel many of lifes paths. But in the end, we come out and share with each other our journey's of both triumph's and struggles. And we also share in our joys and happiness.

To all of you, may the joy of the season Bless your homes, families and friends. May life always be kind to you and if not, may we always keep our eyes open to the possibility of broadening our horizons. Merry Christmas to all...and to all a Good Night!