Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE ANGEL THAT MISSED CHRISTMAS, by WILLIAM E. BROOKS



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THE ANGEL THAT MISSED CHRISTMAS, by            
First Line: Along the hills the echoes died away
Last Line: And the world's christ was ready for his cross.
Subject(s): Angels; Christmas; Nativity, The


Along the hills the echoes died away
And the great light grew dim, till Bethlehem's plain
Lay dark again as any plain of earth.
And while the shepherds sped to find the Babe,
Straw-cradled in the windy cattle shed,
The choiring host swept back the long white road
To Heaven's portals, and the portals closed
Behind them. Swiftly in their train
Came a young angel from a task of God,
A task of mercy to a distant sphere;
And learning from the glad exciting throng
How he had missed his part in their great song,
He sought with downcast eyes the Amazing Throne,
To render his account of duty done.
And the All-father, as He heard his tale,
His shadowed face beheld, and knew his woe,
And bending low He whispered to him there:
"You too shall sing that song they sang tonight,
The hour will come when He shall need it more,
And you shall be my messenger of peace."

The long years passed and deeds in Heaven were done
For help of mortals, while that Life begun
The night the heavens sang drew to its close.
Then came a summons to the Amazing Throne
For him who missed the song. A whispered word
And off he sped the long and star-hung way
To where some olives made a garden old,
And pale beneath the olives' shade a Man.
Great drops that gleamed as blood were on His brow,
His eyes, like coals, burned in their agony,
And burdens like the mountains of man's sin
Lay on His shoulders in a crushing load,
To the wide skies He lifted up His face,
"May this cup pass" He cried "yet as Thou wilt."
Swiftly to Him the eager angel ran
And poured into His ears the well-learned song:
"Gloria in excelsis Deo, et
In terra pax, hominibus bonae
Voluntatis."
And for a moment broke
A light upon that garden like the light
That shone o'er Bethlehem. Straight from the ground
The agony all gone, the doubting past,
The stricken Man arose, held up His head,
Moved steadfastly where coming torches gleamed,
And the world's Christ was ready for His Cross.





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