December Contest Winner

The source text for Christa Pandey’s poem

I received a number of delightful holidays poems this month. In a year where I’ve felt out of touch with the holiday spirit (I didn’t even put up the tree), it was lovely to open my inbox and find poems from both good friends and distant acquaintances.

This month’s winning poem is “Christmas Cento” by Christa Pandey. She used the hymnal One Faith/Una Voz (2005) as her source text. In the poem, you’ll see numbers next to each line; these denote the page in the hymnal where the line originally occurred.

Christmas music is my favorite aspect of the winter season, and I have a special fondness for classical carols even though I’m not religious. I enjoyed seeing the ways in which Christa made something new out of traditional music.

As her prize, Christa chose a donation to Conspirare.

Christmas Cento 

397 It came upon a midnight clear,
400 the darkness everywhere,
376 the silent stars go by, 
397 o’er all the weary world 
374 they traveled on together
400 amid the cold of winter. 

397 Beneath life’s crushing load
397 the days are hastening on,
390 let nothing you dismay 
379 nor thorns infest the ground,
383 wing your flight o’er all the earth
397 above this sad and lowly plain. 

376 No ear may hear his coming,
380 silent night, holy night, 
382 say what may the tidings be?
380 All is calm, all is bright,
390 all you within this place 
380 sleep in heavenly peace. 

374 Lo, when they had heard it
387 joyful all ye nations rise 
383 ever more your voices raising,
392 the stars in the sky 
382 and the mountains in reply
390 each other now embrace. 

379 Let us our songs employ,
382 echo back their joyous strains,
379 let every heart prepare him room,
400 dispel in glorious splendor
376 the hopes and fears of all the years
390 when we were gone astray. 

374 There shone a holy light,
383 brighter visions beam afar,
387 join the triumph of the skies,
383 sages leave your contemplation,
390 with true love and charity
404 the king of kings salvation brings.

378 O come let us adore him, 
378 joyful and triumphant, 
382 come adore on bended knee, 
404 bring him incense, gold and myrrh. 
387 Christ is born in Bethlehem, 
379 he rules the world with truth and grace.

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