The Gospel of Luke, Chapter 2
- And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David
- To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
- And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
- And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
- And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
- And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
- And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
- For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
- And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
- And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
- Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads; And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap, had just settled down for a long winter’s nap, When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter. Away to the window I flew like a flash, tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow gave the luster of mid-day to objects below, When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer, With a little old driver, so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name: “Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! On Cupid! On, Donder and Blitzen! To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall! Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky, so up to the house-top the coursers they flew, With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too. And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof the prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around, down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound. He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot; A bundle of toys he had flung on his back, and he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes — how they twinkled! His dimples how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry! His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, and the beard of his chin was as white as the snow; The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, and the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly, that shook, when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly. He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, and I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself; A wink of his eye and a twist of his head, soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, and filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk, Laying his finger aside of his nose, And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, and away they all flew like the down of a thistle. But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.”
— Clement Clarke Moore