The phrase comes from the carol “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming.”
Somehow, the words “when half-spent was the night” instead of “in the middle of the night” (a choice doubtless made to fit the rhythm) makes one think about the meaning more. Something about a gift arriving unexpectedly halfway through a time of darkness. Something surprising and curious.
A nice gift I received Friday was an expression of gratitude for being there for someone through her first year at my workplace. With tears in her eyes. Golly. Something surprising. A welcome surprise.
Then today, tucked in the back door, a stealth gift. Hmmm. No note. Swedish colors. For Erik? I think I recognize the cookie style. It suggests Suzanne’s longtime friend, a buddy since kindergarten, known for — among other things — her mother’s cookie-painting parties at Christmas.
Suzanne is being remembered, and being reminded of fun times, at a busy season when her friend is visiting town for only a short while. These are gifts that make people feel good.