BOOK OF CHRISTMAS - online book

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

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INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER.
11
we are sure to meet, as at a common rendezvous, with travellers from its many paths. We love to enter those houses of refresh­ment, by the way-side of existence, where we know we shall encounter with other wayfarers like ourselves—perchance with friends long separated, and whom the chances of the world keep far apart—and from whence, after a sweet communion, and lusty festival, and needful rest, we may go forth upon our journey new fortified against its accidents, and strengthened for its toils. We love those festivals which have been made, as Washington Irving says, " the season for gathering together of family connexions, and drawing closer, again, those bonds 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 mementos of childhood." Above all, we love those seasons (" for pity is not common !" says the old ballad) which call for the exercise of a general hospitality, and give the poor man his few and precious glimpses of a plenty, which, as the world is managed, his toil cannot buy ;—which shelter the house­less wanderer, and feed the starving child, and clothe the naked mother, and spread a festival for all. Those seasons which, in their observance by our ancestors, kept alive, by periodical re-awakenings, the flame of charity which, thus, had scarcely time wholly to expire, during all the year. We love all which tends to call man from the solitary and chilling pursuit of his own sepa­rate and selfish views, into the warmth of a common sympathy, and within the bands of a common brotherhood. We love these commemorations, as we have said, for themselves—we love them for their uses—and still more we love them for the memories of our boyhood! Many a bright picture do they call up in our minds,—and in the minds of most who have been amongst their observers; for with these festivals of the heart are inalienably connected many a memory, for sorrow or for joy—many a scene of early love—many a merry meeting which was yet the last— many a parting of those who shall part no more—many a joyous group, composed of materials which separated only too soon, and
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