Saturday, December 13, 2008

Jul-Tide Pilgrimage

In fancy, I go to the Northland, At Christmas time long, long ago,
When my Mom was a small girl in Sweden And forests were laden with snow.

She helped choose the spruce on the hillside - The prettiest one to be found;
Granddad felled it and loaded the stoneboat With small folk and tree, homeward bound.

Red lingon have long since been gathered For jam as a holiday treat;
They grow in the moss-covered marshes, With promise a future so sweet.

Come hither to fill their wood buckets And thrill to the cuckoo's call,
That chimes from the top of a pine tree - A peace and good will song to all!

The candles are molded from tallow, Good Julbread and fruit soup is made;
Round cheeses, stuffed sausage and lutfisk, Will humble festivity aid.

Preparedness is now in full motion, The floor is sand-scrubbed and looks white,
With a door mat of evergreen branches - Some on stove for incense delight.

This Christmas is full of surprises, Red apples now sway in the tree;
Dear presents - so graciously home-made, And eyes that are starfilled, I see.

It's Christmas Eve! In this lowly dwelling The true Jul-tide Spirit abides,
The head of the house reads the Story - The love of the Christ Child presides.

At dawn, on their brisk walk to God's House, Groups carol the long six-mile way -
Thus honor the Babe with their presence And worship on this Blessed Day.

May you, too, have a heart-warming Christmas, Find you in each good thing God lends
And thrill as each candle-light hallows The Gift that His Love to you sends.

Written with love by my Grandmother Phoebe Carolina (Swanson) Johnson, December 1962, Sioux Falls, SD
Top photo: Logging in Sweden, Painting: Vallkulla by Anders Zorn, Bottom photo: Ljung, Östergötland, Sweden church in winter

Wishing you a season you'll long remember for all the joy it brings.
Happy Holidays.

Jag önskar dig en årstid full av glädje som du aldrig skall glömma.
Trevlig helg.

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