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.                          87
To few assemblages of men is it given to come together, in the scene of ancient memories, without having to " remember such things were, that were most precious."—But, excepting in those cases in which the suffering is extreme, or the sorrow immediate, —after a few hours given to a wholesome, and perhaps mournful, retrospect, the mind readjusts itself to the tone of the time ; and men, for the most part, seem to understand that they are met for the purpose of being as merry as it is in their natures to be. And to the attainment of this right joyous frame of mind, we have already said that a sense of the duration of the festival period greatly contributes. In the case of a single holiday, the mind had scarcely time to take the appropriate tone, before the period of celebration has passed away ; and a sense of its transitoriness tends often to prevent the effort being made with that heartiness which helps to insure success.
But when the holiday of to-day terminates only that it may make way for the holiday of to-morrow, and gladness has an ancient charter, in virtue of which it claims dominion over a series of days so extended, that the happy school-boy—and some who are quite as happy as school-boys, and as merry too,—cannot see the end of them, for the blaze of joyous things that lies between,— then does the heart surrender itself confidently to the genius of the time, and lets loose a host of cheerful and kindly feelings which it knows will not be suddenly thrown back upon it, and heaps up pleasant devices upon the glowing flame of mirth,—as we heap up logs on the roaring fire,—laying them decently aside, at the end of the season,—as we lay aside the burnt-out brand of the Yule log,—to rekindle the Christmas fire and the Christmas feeling of another year.
But there is yet another reason, in aid of those which we have enumerated, accounting for an observance of the Christmas fes­tivities more universal—and a preservation of its traditions more accurate and entire—than are bestowed, in England, upon the festival customs of any other period of the year. This reason, which might not, at first view, seem so favorable to that end as in truth it is—is to be found in the outward and natural aspects of the season. We have been watching the year through the period of its decline,—are arrived at the dreary season of its old age,—
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