Author:F. P. A.
Publication:The Blackburn Times
Date:December 24, 1864
The secular figure of Father Christmas is used here as a rebuke to the hypocrisy of wealthy people who celebrate Christmas lavishly but without attention to those in need. The first two stanzas draw on traditional festive imagery, with holly and mistletoe, and a blazing fire to dispel the chill of the ice and snow, but this is quickly contrasted with the cold and sparse homes of the poor. The message, pointedly aimed at wealthier readers, is that the trimmings of the season mean little without attention to the duties of charity and love for one’s neighbour. Though the poem is not overtly religious, it does draw on Biblical themes, referencing the story of the Good Samaritan and hinting that the rich may find it more difficult to enter the kingdom of God.
- Dr Ruth Mather, University of Exeter.