BOOK OF CHRISTMAS - online book

The Customs, Ceremonies, Traditions, Superstitions, Fun, Feeling,
And Festivities Of The Christmas Season.

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INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER.
7
that—had the same machinery existed from the commencement of time (with the art of printing to preserve its results),—the history of the past might be perused with its discrepancies recon­ciled, and many of its blanks supplied : and, could the world agree upon its uniform adoption now (together with that of a common epoch, to reckon from), comparative chronology would be no longer a science applicable to the future; and history, for the time to come (in so far as it is a mere record of facts), would present few problems but such as " he who runs may read."
But out of these conventional and multiplied divisions of time, —these wheels within the great wheel,—arise results far more important than the verification of a chronological series, or the establishment of the harmonies of history. Through them, not only may the ages of the world be said to intercommunicate, and the ends of the earth, in a sense, to meet, but, by their aid, the whole business of the life of nations and of individuals is regu­lated, and a set of mnemonics established upon which hinges the history of the human heart. By the multiplied but regular sys­tem of recurrences thus obtained, order is made to arise out of the web of duties and the chaos of events ;—and at each of the thousand points marked out on these concentric circles, are writ­ten their appropriate duties, and recorded their special memories. The calendar of every country is thus covered over with a series of events, whose recollection is recalled, and influence kept alive, by the return of the cycles, in their ceaseless revolution, to those spots at which the record of each has been written;—and acts of fasting or of festival, of social obligation or of moral observ­ance,—many of which would be surely lost or overlooked, amidst the inextricable confusion in which, without this systematic ar­rangement, they must be mingled,—are severally pointed out by the moving finger of Time, as he periodically reaches the place of each, on his concentric dials.
But, besides the calendar of general direction an 1 national ob­servance, where is the heart that has not a private calendar of its own! Long ere the meridian of life has been attained, the in­dividual man has made many a memorandum, of joy or pain, for his periodical perusal,—and established many a private celebra-
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