The story according to St. Luke
On Christmas Eve 1969 we were struggling for words to express the joys and spirit of Christmas in an editorial. We finally went into the boss's office for help. Larry Fanning thought for a moment and said, "The best Christmas message I ever read was in St. Luke. If it's still there, let's reprint it." It was there, and we reprinted it. To commemorate the holy day for Christian readers, we have done so almost every Christmas since:
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.
And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
And she brought forth her first-born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were in the same country, shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: And they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a savior, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came in haste, and found Mary, Joseph and the babe lying in a manger.
And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
(begin ital) -- Luke 2:1-20 (end ital)
I sled along the windy blue and held tight
across the black -- star to tree and
not yet finding the last cabin
not yet finding the last wild
wooded cabin somewhere filed away among
the spruce and silence.
Christmas day is Christmas night
in the north country:
birch trees creak, night falls electric, the sun
a refugee to the bold white decrees of the moon:
a dark so deep only paw prints appear.
Then perhaps a vagrant chirp, a single lonely
solitary howl, a soft fall of very cold snow.
The north country has no directions
but always one last cabin,
one last slender limber of smoke in that
wilderness of Christmas hope,
one last one to bend
Those secrets among the trees!
And so it was again to that last cabin
with its climb of Christmas smoke
reached not so straight through the winter air.
Christmas is the bend in the smoke. It's always there.
(begin ital)-- Steve Sherman (end ital)
The poem "Christmas Wind" by a former Daily News writer, is reprinted here today in a renewal of a Daily News tradition.