Whatever way you look at it, the Christmas season is a season of wonder.
The wonder of Christ being born, the wonder of one year ending and another beginning, the wonder of childhood, of generosity, of genuine heartwarming goodwill.
What this poem touches on so well I think is our longing at this time of year to return to that innocent and wondrous state of childhood, all that 'spirit-shocking wonder,' which allows us to see again 'the newness that was in every stale thing'. And to do this, we must leave overindulgence behind and focus on the simplicity of things, the 'heartbreaking strangeness...wherever life pours ordinary plenty'.
Advent - Patrick Kavanagh
We have tested and tasted too much, lover-
Through a chink too wide there comes in no wonder.
But here in the Advent-darkened room
Where the dry black bread and the sugarless tea
Of penance will charm back the luxury
Of a child's soul, we'll return to Doom
The knowledge we stole but could not use.
And the newness that was in every stale thing
When we looked at it as children: the spirit-shocking
Wonder in a black slanting Ulster hill
Or the prophetic astonishment in the tedious talking
Of an old fool will awake for us and bring
You and me to the yard gate to watch the whins
And the bog-holes, cart-tracks, old stables where Time begins.
O after Christmas we'll have no need to go searching
For the difference that sets an old phrase burning-
We'll hear it in the whispered argument of a churning
Or in the streets where the village boys are lurching.
And we'll hear it among decent men too
Who barrow dung in gardens under trees,
Wherever life pours ordinary plenty.
Won't we be rich, my love and I, and
God we shall not ask for reason's payment,
The why of heart-breaking strangeness in dreeping hedges
Nor analyse God's breath in common statement.
We have thrown into the dust-bin the clay-minted wages
Of pleasure, knowledge and the conscious hour-
And Christ comes with a January flower.