Merry Christmas

And the Martyrdom of John Bradford, 1555

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Founder & Teacher,

Five hundred years ago the good
     John Bradford, bound with chains,
Bound to his knees with wood,
      Strapped to his partner in the pains
Of martyrdom, the young John Leaf,
     Pronounced a sentence of his own,
To cheer the youth and ease the grief.

And what he said, before they burned
     Him for the brightness of the truth,
Has pierced my heart with love, and turned
     His comfort for the fearful youth
Into a robe of sound to clad
     My “Merry Christmas” with a tone
More serious, and yet more glad.

Will merry ever mean the same
     For me again since Bradford spoke
These happy words, and set aflame
     My hope amid the gath’ring smoke:
“Be of good comfort, brother John,
     For we shall have a merry supper with
The Lord, before this night is done.”