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The Secret Christmas
An Anthology Of The Hidden Joy Of Christmas
by Terence Handley MacMath
Publisher:DLT (Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd)
A welcome reissue of this thoughtful little anthology, which covers Advent and Christmas, and the period through to Candlemas.
This is not the public face of Christmas, described by the editor as "the Christmas we love to hate, complete with a hundred horrid chores, unwanted relations and Bing Crosby crooning in every department store".
No, it has two more personal themes: people's "secret, private response to Christmas"; and the impulse to give, "which lies at the heart of Christmas, remembering as it does the gift of God himself to us." Christmas' real joy, according to this anthology's editor, is "always to be found in those unexpected moments when we perceive the divine presence dropping in, as it were, for a visit."
You'll find in these pages some seasonal items that may be familiar to you, like the famous anonymous meditation, 'The King is Coming' (often known by it's first line "Yet if his majesty, our Sovereign Lord") and poems by Thomas Hardy, George Herbert and Robert Herrick.
But what I specially appreciated was the large number of more unusual items in the selection, among them several pieces by G. K. Chesterton, and Charles Dickens, extracts from articles first published in the Church Times, a ‘blog item' by Paul Wigmore on his song "No Small Wonder", and new poems printed by permission of their authors, Jennifer Dines and Marguerite Wood.
Definitely not a hackneyed anthology.
Reviewer: Barry Vendy (25/01/14)