Now he who knows old Christmas,
He knows a carle of worth;
For he is as good a fellow,
As any upon the earth!
He comes warm cloked and coated,
And buttoned up to the chin,
And soon as he comes a-nigh the door,
We open and let him in.
We know that he will not fail us,
So we sweep the hearth up clean;
We set him the old armed chair,
And a cushion whereon to lean.
And with sprigs of holly and ivy
We make the house look gay,
Just out of an old regard to him,—
For it was his ancient way.
—Mary Howitt, "Old Christmas."
[The word "Advent" comes from the Latin adventus, which means "coming." In the Christian church Advent is that period of expectant waiting leading up to the Nativity of Jesus. Some prefer to think of it as a "Countdown to Christmas." If you've ever had an Advent calendar, you know that each day prior to Christmas has it own window, usually hidden behind a little flap or door, behind which is a scene or verse from the Scriptures. I thought it would be fun to take that idea and post a daily photo with a bit of text below—a stanza or two from a Christmaspoem or a few lines of prose from a favorite Christmas story. The photos aren't intended to be tied with the text. Some are just ones I meant to run with a post this past year, but for whatever reason, didn't. To set these posts apart from my regular—or irregular!—ones, I've given them a different typeface and look.]