J. R. R. Tolkien was not only the author of the best-selling novel ever written, but a fierce Catholic whose Faith was pervasive in his work.
“Besides the Sun there may be moonlight but if the Sun were removed
there would be no Moon to see. What would Christianity now be if the Roman Church has in fact been destroyed?” – Letter 250, The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
Not a poet in the traditional sense, Tolkien published nearly 40 poems throughout his life. In 2016, two lost poems by the Anglo-Saxon scholar were discovered originally published in an obscure 1936 annual magazine for Our Lady’s Abingdon in Oxfordshire.
Of the two, one is a Christmas poem entitled Noel dedicated to the Virgin Mary:
“Noel is a beautiful and unusual take on the Christmas story, set in a wintry landscape. The focus is on Mary, which may be why Tolkien wrote the poem for the school magazine, given that we are dedicated to Our Lady.”
Read the beautiful Christmas prayer to Virgin Mary, Noel, by J. R. R. Tolkien below:
Grim was the world and grey last night:
The moon and stars were fled,
The hall was dark without song or light,
The fires were fallen dead.
The wind in the trees was like to the sea,
And over the mountains’ teeth
It whistled bitter-cold and free,
As a sword leapt from its sheath.
The lord of snows upreared his head;
His mantle long and pale
Upon the bitter blast was spread
And hung o’er hill and dale.
The world was blind, the boughs were bent,
All ways and paths were wild:
Then the veil of cloud apart was rent,
And here was born a Child.
The ancient dome of heaven sheer
Was pricked with distant light;
A star came shining white and clear
Alone above the night.
In the dale of dark in that hour of birth
One voice on a sudden sang:
Then all the bells in Heaven and Earth
Together at midnight rang.
Mary sang in this world below:
They heard her song arise
O’er mist and over mountain snow
To the walls of Paradise,
And the tongue of many bells was stirred
in Heaven’s towers to ring
When the voice of mortal maid was heard,
That was mother of Heaven’s King.
Glad is the world and fair this night
With stars about its head,
And the hall is filled with laughter and light,
And fires are burning red.
The bells of Paradise now ring
With bells of Christendom,
And Gloria, Gloria we will sing
That God on earth is come.