Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for Me. Matthew 25:40
Words: Thomas B. Murray, Lays of Christmas (London: Francis & John Rivington, 1847), number 13.
If you know where to get a good picture of Murray (head-and-shoulders, at least 200×300 pixels), would you ?
The arrowy sleet, and winter wind,
That beat against our latchèd door,
With plaintive voices call to mind
The wants and sorrows of the poor.
Can we enjoy our Christmas home,
Its cheerful fire, and table spread,
Yet lightly think of those that roam
Without, unsheltered and unfed?
We all need kindness: who shall say
But he may come at last to crave
Relief along the rugged way,
That leads through trouble to the grave?
Then love the poor; and ope your hand,
Not grudgingly but with good will,
And suffer not the needy band
To stand unhelped and shivering still.
For ’tis a blessèd thing indeed,
Which not e’en monarchs should despise,
When men of wealth and goodness read
Their history in the poor man’s eyes.
Now change the view; and who shall dare
To treat with insult or neglect
Those whom the Lord hath made His care,
And whom He surely will protect?
Turn to the words of sacred lore,
And mark how fully they disclose
His will, who careth for the poor,
And taketh vengeance on their foes.
See what a hedge He hath supplied,
And made the sufferers’ cause His own,
Lest fierceness, or the foot of pride,
Should hurt the poor, or cast them down.
Hath He not sent His only Son
To share and thus to sanctify
A state that need bring shame to none,
The state of lowly poverty?
Yes, Christ endured the shame and loss;
And His cold home at Bethlehem,
The mountains bare, the painful cross,
May teach the poor He cared for them.
Foxes had holes, the bird its nest;
But while each creature found a bed,
The Savior had no place of rest,
Whereon to lay His weary head.
O honor then your Maker’s name;
And love the poor, lest ye be found
Reproaching Him who poor became,
That ye in riches might abound.