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Tuesday, December 24, 2013


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)

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.


  1. Enjoy your Christmas Eve, Roland. Mine always seems to be full of last minute things to do.

    The singing always lifts my heart when I hear Christmas carols. It can be anywhere - even in the mall.

  2. D.G.:
    My new cat, Snowball, grew ill today. Only the emergency clinic was open. They wanted $400 in full. Sadly, I do not have that kind of cash. I had them give him pain medication and fluids --- which I could afford. They let me know it would only cost $51 to put him to sleep.

    Merry Christmas, right?

    May yours be sweet and happy. Roland