BOOK OF CHRISTMAS - online book

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

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FEELINGS OF THE SEASON.                             83
The very presence of a lengthened festivity—for festivity can never be solitary—would (apart from its sacred causes) promote these wholesome effects. The extended space of time over which this festival is spread,—the protracted holiday which it creates.— points it out for the gathering together of distant friends ; whom the passing nature of an occasional and single celebration would fail to collect, from their scattered places of the world. By this wise and beautiful arrangement, the spell of home is still made to cast its sweet and holy influence along the sterile regions, as along: the bright places, of after-life; and from the dark valleys and the sunny hill-tops of the world, to call back alike the spoiled of for­tune, and the tired and travel-stained—to refresh themselves, again and again, at the fountain of their calmer hopes and purer feelings. A wise and beautiful arrangement this would be, in whatever season of the year it might be placed ! Wise and beau­tiful is any institution which sets up a rallying-place for the early affections, and re-awakens the sacred sympathies of youth !— which from that well-head of purity and peace, sends forth, as it were, a little river of living waters, to flow, with revivifying fresh­ness and soothing murmur, along the wastes and wildernesses of after years !—which makes of that spring-time of the heart a reservoir of balm, to which, in hours of sorrow, it can return for joy, and in years of guilt, for regeneration ; and which, like the widow's cruse of oil, wasteth not, in all the ages of the mind's dearth ! But, how greatly are the wisdom and the beauty of this arrangement increased, by the sacred season at which it has been placed ! Under the sanctions of religion, the covenants of the heart are renewed. Upon the altars of our faith, the lamps of the spirit are rekindled. The loves of earth seem to have met together at the sound of the " glad tidings" of the season, to refresh them­selves for the heaven which those tidings proclaim. From " Abana and Pharpar," and all the " rivers of Damascus," the affections are returned to bathe in " the waters of Israel." In many a peaceful spot and lowly home,—
" Wi' joy unfeigned, brothers and sisters meet, An' each for other's welfare kindly spiers ;"—
and as the long separated look, once more, into the " sweet familiar
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