Published on Academy of American Poets (

The Waits

At the break of Christmas Day,
   Through the frosty starlight ringing,
Faint and sweet and far away,
   Comes the sound of children, singing,
         Chanting, singing,
    “Cease to mourn,
   For Christ is born,
         Peace and joy to all men bringing!”

Careless that the chill winds blow,
   Growing stronger, sweeter, clearer,
Noiseless footfalls in the snow,
   Bring the happy voices nearer;
         Hear them singing,
    “Winter’s drear,
   But Christ is here,
         Mirth and gladness with Him bringing.”

“Merry Christmas!” hear them say,
   As the East is growing lighter;
“May the joy of Christmas Day
   Make your whole year gladder, brighter!”
         Join their singing,
    “To each home
   Our Christ has come,
         All Love’s treasures with Him bringing!”


This poem appeared in The Old Garden, and Other Verses (Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1886) is in the public domain.


Margaret Deland

Margaret Deland was born on February 23, 1857, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A prolific writer best known for her novel John Ward, Preacher (Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1888), among her other novels and short story collections, she also wrote the poetry collection The Old Garden and Other Verses (Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1886). She died on January 13, 1945.

Date Published: 2017-12-12

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