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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

TO DREAM CHRISTMAS ALIVE


And in despair I bowed my head:
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men."

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men."

Till, ringing singing, on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men."

(Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), 1867)


Christmas--

that magic blanket that wraps itself around us,

that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance.

It may weave a spell of nostalgia.

Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer,

but always it will be a day of remembrance--

a day in which we think of everything

and everyone

we have ever loved.


Yet, to perceive Christmas through its wrappings becomes more difficult with every passing year.

Its song of Peace and Good Will to Man becomes more off-key with every wintry passing. Still we need that song to hold to when the darkness seems so alive.


I hear that in many places something has happened to Christmas;

that it is changing from a time of merry hearts and carefree joy to a holiday which is filled with drudgery;

that many people dread the day,

and the obligation to give Christmas presents is a nightmare to weary souls;

that the children of enlightened parents no longer believe in Santa Claus;

that all in all, the effort to be happy and have pleasure makes many honest hearts grow dark with despair

instead of glowing with good will and cheer.

And the true tragedy to that is that it is a self-inflicted poison to the soul.


But I, myself, have always thought of Christmas time

as a good time; a kind, forgiving, loving time;

the only time I know of, in the year's long journey of months,

when men and women seem by silent agreement to open their shut-up hearts freely,

and to think of people around them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave,

and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.


I sometimes think we expect too much of Christmas Day.

We try to crowd into it the long debts of kindness and compassion of the whole year.


As for me, I like to take my Christmas a little at a time,

all through the year.

And thus I drift along into the holidays--let them overtake me unexpectedly--

waking up some fine morning and suddenly saying to myself:

'Why this is Christmas Day!' And feel re-born as a child again.

Because there's nothing sadder in this world than to awaken Christmas morning and not be a child.


But that's the magic of Christmas ...

for one short season, we can all become children again

in our hearts ... and in our dreams.

Each year, the world and our souls seem to grow older and darker,

but at Christmas time, our souls seem to see the world as cleaner

and we feel younger, closer to that magic which lived within us as children.


It is the magic that casts its wintry spell so that there are no strangers on Christmas Eve.


It is the magic that murmurs that if there is no Christmas in your heart,
there will be none under your tree.


And it is that magic which brings us the real truth of Christmas :

We are never alone.
***


16 comments:

  1. Amen, Roland!
    And you sound like Scrooge after he awoke on Christmas morning.

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  2. Diane : Nothing wrong with being that version of Scrooge. It's how we end that's important more than how we start. Have a healing Christmas!

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  3. Golden Eagle : Thanks for thinking so. May the magic of Christmas renew the child in you, granting you dreams come true.

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  4. I love the way you put that, carry Christmas throughout the year. You're right, we really need to spread the cheer so it lasts longer. Another beautiful entry!

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  5. Heather : I have my computer music set at random so that every so often a Christmas carol will play, reminding me that Love came down to earth to spend every day with us, not just one a year.

    I'm glad you enjoyed my post. I enjoyed yours. Thanks to you, I sent a query to Jennifer Laughran. It may prove fruitless, but it has given me and Victor another Christmas dream. But you know Victor, he sees no gloom and doom, only opportunities to win against impossible odds.

    "Don't you know, Roland?," he winks at me. "Impossible gives birth to legends!"

    May your Christmas season give birth to love and magic, Roland

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  6. A beautiful sentiment Roland.

    I have to admit I'm one discouraged by the current commercial bent to Christmas. I mirror this: "Each year, the world and our souls seem to grow older and darker,"
    but strive for:
    "but at Christmas time, our souls seem to see the world as cleaner
    and we feel younger, closer to that magic which lived within us as children."

    I hate feeling like the original Scrooge . .

    Thank you for the reminder that some people still believe in the magical spirit of Christmas. Whatever a person's religious belief, there is that sense of unity with our "fellow travelers towards the grave" (did I get it right?) I try to spread the spirit all through the year to. There is magic in showing your loved ones you think of them often, and not just in December.

    As you can see, I've been reading through several of your lastest posts (and left comments on one or two).

    Dude; thank you for this pop-up comment window. I think Mark Twain would call you a courteous gentleman - and if he doesn't, then I will :) So convenient to be able to refer back to a favorite quote as I comment

    The Bells of Christmas is such a moving tribute to Christmas, and I enjoyed listening to it as I commented here - and while reading other posts. (I had to listen the the Harry Potter Christmas Cannons again also. I'd download these songs myself, but I prefer coming here to find my favorites as it has the added benefit of allowing me your company.)

    May peace and love be your's throughout this holiday season, and beyond.

    ..........dhole

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  7. Donna : I did the pop-up comment window just for you. I reasoned if it was something that would make my blog easier to comment on, it would be that way for others, too.

    I enjoy Casting Crowns' version of The Bells of Christmas more than the original .. it has more substance and a more evocative tone.

    Everyone close to me that has died did so during the Christmas season, so I have to work to make Christmas magical and child-like. Like you, I find that the increasing commerciality and cynicism of the Hollywood and retail stores does not help me there.

    Thanks for the good Christmas wishes, and I wish them right back at you. Only happy surprises this week! Think good thoughts on the full that is still out on THE LEGEND OF VICTOR STANDISH.

    Victor's not worried. He's sure someone with great taste will pick up his novel. Ah, youth. Roland

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  8. Good evening, Sir,

    I love your heart felt sentiment. I agree with all of it. At times we all become disenchanted. I know I did for a while, but i'm working my way back to the magic of Christmas. It's all around us.

    Melissa and Jen's Jolly blog opened up the hearts and homes of our fellow bloggers. It's so wonderful to see the traditions of others.

    I so hope you have time to rest and enjoy your friends this holiday. You work so hard helping others with your job and then helping all of us on your blog.

    I send you all the Christmas magic I can muster up for you...

    Michael

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  9. Beautiful and moving Christmas lament. I love the lights. The music. The Christmas specials on tv. Peace on earth. Good will toward men. Any reminder to be kinder and more compassionate to ourselves and to our fellows is, to me, a good thing.

    Thank you, Roland!

    ~ that rebel, Olivia

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  10. Michael : Christmas, like anything precious, demands we fight to keep it. I forgot that for a time.

    Love's fire needs to be fed to last, and magic needs us to become children again -- and Christmas allows us to be that again.

    I'm off for five days straight with only one on-call night so I plan to spend the holiday week with Sam McCord's first chapter (as in revising it) and writing a chapter or two of the further adventures of Victor Standish. Have a beautiful Christmas.

    And it was nice to see the homes of others celebrating the magic of Christmas, wasn't it?

    May the wonder and magic of Christmas always be yours, Michael.

    Olivia : Christmas encourages us to be kind, loving, and giving when the rest of the year dogs us to sharpen our elbows to shove our way towards our own goals.

    Like you, I love the lights. On my blood runs at night, I see so many sparkling spectacles that amaze me, and for a moment, I am a young child again, filled with awe and the hope that magic is somewhere in the night waiting for me to come upon it. Merry Christmas, Olivia.

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  11. Hi Roland .. Peace on Earth .. as Casting Crowns sing .. and the bell continues to ring for us ..

    .. it is the magic that .. brings us who we are .. who we can be .. when we can realign and keep our love in our hearts and in our smiles ..

    With peace and thoughts for this Christmas time - Hilary

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  12. Hilary : Christmas to me is like winter's first snow. You look out Christmas morning, and all seems changed, covered with the mantle of Peace and Love for a precious, fragile moment. Wishing you the magic of Christmas!

    Flying High In The Sky : :) right back at you with wishes for a season of magic and healing for you!

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