Christina Rossetti: Poems

Christina Rossetti: Poems Summary and Analysis of "Love Came Down at Christmas" (1885)


In "Love Came Down at Christmas," Christina Rossetti praises the divine love that, according to the New Testament, humans could only access after the birth of Jesus Christ. With the line, "Love was born at Christmas," Rossetti equates Jesus Christ with Love. She states that this love should be the key to human existence, and people should consider divine love as the essential quality of being.


"Love came down at Christmas" is made up of three stanzas with four lines each. The first two stanzas follow an ABCB pattern and the final stanza follows a DBDB pattern. The lyrics are simple and sincere, which lends heartfelt feeling to the poem. Composers have since set the words to music, transforming Rossetti's piece into a popular Christmas carol.

The theme of the poem is evident through Rossetti's repeated use of the word "love." She starts eight lines with "love." Her use of anaphora emphasizes the idea that Christ was born as a human so that he could share his divine love with mankind.

Rossetti invokes the narrative surrounding Christ's birth without using specific details. For this reason, the poem might feel cryptic to readers who are unfamiliar with the Bible. "Love came down at Christmas" refers to Jesus Christ's birth unto the Virgin Mary. Shepherds who were tending their flocks and three wise kings in a distant land saw David's star in the sky and took it as a divine sign. The shepherds came immediately to witness the incarnation of Christ as man in the form of the baby Jesus. Rossetti describes Christ's love as "love incarnate, love divine."

In the last stanza of the poem, Rossetti calls for love and fellowship amongst her Christian brothers and sisters. She believed that Christ's love was the essential facet of her religion.