Attributed arms for St. Wilfrid - click for further details

Church Diary
Privacy Notice


Fr. Cecil Champneys Burnham

1914 - 2002

Fr. Cecil Home Page


A Christmas Legend

When Christ was born in Bethlehem

The angels sang for joy,

But when King Herod heard the news

He vowed to kill the boy.

Then Joseph, dreaming, heard a voice,

“To Egypt swift take flight”.

So he and Mary with the Child

Fled through the freezing night.

Cruel Herod’s men slew helpless babes —

No place for them to hide,

But failed to find the Holy Child

Though they sought far and wide.

A biting wind blew cold and chill,

The hoar frost glistened white,

And Joseph sought some sheltered spot

Where they could pass the night.

A cave he found within the hills

To hide them all from view

As closer to her anxious breast

The Child sweet Mary drew.

Within the cave the Baby slept

And Mary breathed a prayer

That He Who was the Lord of life

Might find protection there.

Now legend tells an old folk tale

Of how that need was met

While Herod’s men tramped o’er the hills

And tighter drew the net.

Inside the cave a spider sat

Who watched the sleeping Child

And longed to save him from the cold

And temperature so wild.

“I am”, thought he, “so small myself

There’s little I can do,

But right across the cavern’s mouth

I’ll weave a curtain true”.

That’s what the Littlest Spider did

Till he could spin no more,

So that the cave was sealed at last

By hoar clad silken door.

The family heard approaching feet

Of soldiers prowling near

And trembled as a coarse voice cried,

“I think they may be here”.

Their captain came and saw the web,

But knew not what it meant.

“No one”, said he, “has been through here.

The web has not been rent”.

“See how it glistens in the frost,

Unbroken and intact.

No need to waste our time in there,

And that, lads, is a fact.

The Infant still no crying made.

The soldiers went their way.

The family, thankful for relief,

Slept safely till the day.

The Littlest Spider also slept,

Worn out by all he’d done,

And curled contentedly inside

The robe of God’s dear Son.

So that is why your Christmas Tree

With tinsel is bedecked,

For it recalls the Spider’s web

With shining hoar frost flecked.


Copyright © 2000 [Rev. C. Champneys Burnham]. All rights reserved.
Revised: May 24, 2018 .