Of all the old festivals, however, that of Christmas awakens the strongest and most heartfelt associations. There is a tone of solemn and sacred feeling that blends with our conviviality, and lifts the spirit to a state of hallowed and elevated enjoyment. The services of the church about this season are extremely tender and inspiring. They dwell on the beautiful story of the origin of our faith, and the pastoral scenes that accompanied its announcement. They gradually increase in fervour and pathos during the season of Advent, until they break forth in full jubilee on the morning that brought peace and good-will to men. I do not know a grander effect of music on the moral feelings than to hear the full choir and the pealing organ performing a Christmas anthem in a cathedral, and filling every part of the vast pile with triumphant harmony.
It is a beautiful arrangement, also derived from days of yore, that this festival, which commemorates the announcement of the religion of peace and love, has been made the season for gathering together of family connections, and drawing closer again those bands of kindred hearts which the cares and pleasures and sorrows of the world are continually operating to cast loose; of calling back the children of a family who have launched forth in life, and wandered widely asunder, once more to assemble about the paternal hearth, that rallying-place of the affections, there to grow young and loving again among the endearing mementoes of childhood. – Old Christmas by Washington Irving
Dark and dull night, flie hence away,
And give the honour to this day
That Sees December turn’d to May.
* * * * *
Why does the chilling winter’s morne
Smile like a field beset with corn?
Or smell like to a meade new-shorne,
Thus on the sudden?—Come and see
The cause why things thus fragrant be.
I do not claim that there have never been Christians among the colored races, but I do claim what to me seems obvious: The celebration of Christmas is largely a European celebration because faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, has been largely a European faith. As the Europeans’ faith in the Babe in the manger has declined, so have they declined as a people. The Europeans will be forever linked to Christianity. If they choose to continue to live in the slime pits of liberalism, they will cease to exist as a people. If they regain their vision of the Star of Bethlehem they will be the light of the world and they will strive as a people.
Obviously, we can’t become Christians for utilitarian reasons, but we can open up our hearts to Christ the Lord and become men and women of faith. I don’t say that faith is easy – it is not. But what of our ancestors, whom the liberals demonize and tell us to dismiss? They believed, because they loved much – they loved the Christ who enters human hearts.
It is the time of year to join our hearts to our kith and kin, alive and dead, to celebrate our Savior’s birth. The older I get, the more loved ones I have who have gone to the Lord. But I believe that they celebrate Christmas with me. If you have just lost a loved one during this Christmas season, you cannot celebrate as you were wont to. But if we believe in the promise of Christmas, if we believe that the Babe in the manger is Christ the Lord, then the memory, over time, of our loved one’s death is transformed into a hope for their resurrection from the dead. What are the words of the old Christmas carol? “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.”
The shadow of the cross hangs over all our Christmases, just as it hung over His birth in a manger.
He was bruised for our iniquities.
The chastisement of our peace was upon him;
And with his stripes we are healed.
I believe the Babe in the manger is the Son of God, and I hope that there will always be at least seven thousand who remain on earth to follow the Star of Bethlehem. God bless you, and Merry Christmas! +
A note to my readers: For my December 23rd and December 30th posts, the usual short story will appear instead. The regular blog will resume on January 6th.