Since it’s the Christmas season, I wanted to share with you one of the coolest stories of an old familiar Christmas carol. The carol is “Good King Wenceslas.” You may be familiar with the song. If not, you can look it up somewhere and I’m sure you will discover you have heard it before. But, regardless of the tune, it’s the words that make the carol so powerful. The words are as follows:
Good King Wenceslas looked out On the feast of Stephen,
When the snow lay round about, Deep and crisp and even.
Brightly shown the moon that night, Though the frost was cruel,
When a poor man came in sight, Gathering winter fuel.
Hither, page, and stand by me. If thou know it telling:
Yonder peasant, who is he? Where and what his dwelling?
Sire, he lives a good league hence, Underneath the mountain,
Right against the forest fence By Saint Agnes fountain.
Bring me flesh, and bring me wine. Bring me pine logs hither.
Thou and I will see him dine When we bear the thither.
Page and monarch, forth they went, Forth they went together
Through the rude wind’s wild lament And the bitter weather.
Sire, the night is darker now, And the wind blows stronger.
Fails my heart, I know not how. I can go no longer.
Ark my footsteps my good page, Tread thou in them boldly:
Thou shalt find the winter’s rage Freeze thy blood less coldly.
In his master’s step he trod, Where the snow lay dented.
Heat was in the very sod Which the saint had printed.
Therefore, Christian men, be sure, Wealth or rank possessing,
Ye who now will bless the poor Shall yourselves find blessing.
I just love this carol because I can just picture the page boy following in the footsteps of the great king. And, the king and his page are out on a cold, crisp evening and they see a poor man gathering wood for fuel. So, the song progresses and then we hear that the king and his page are bringing a fine Christmas meal to that peasant who lives beneath some mountain. The whole carol hearkens back to God’s call on our lives to be among the people in need, and follow his lead in bringing them hope, and joy. The last verse of this carol paints the most vivid picture. “In his master’s step he trod” – for us it is to conjure up thoughts of following God himself. And, in his steps, there was warmth, and so the page could go on, to participate in this grand task of bringing this meal to the poor peasant. And so with us, when we follow God, and follow in his steps, we will be able to do his work without fear.
Peace be with you this Christmas season!