Friday, December 07, 2007

What Christmas Is As We Grow Older --By Charles Dickens

Time was, with most of us, when Christmas Day, encircling all our limited world like a magic ring, left nothing out for us to miss or seek; bound together all our home enjoyments, affections, and hopes; grouped everything and every one around the Christmas fire; and made the little picture shining in our bright young eyes complete.
A close-up image of a candle showing the wick and the various regions of the flame. Note the truncated wick being consumed at the lower-right edge of the flame.

And is our life here, at the best, so constituted that, pausing as we advance at such a noticeable milestone in the track as this great birthday, we look back on the things that never were, as naturally and full as gravely as on the things that have been and are gone, or have been and still are? If it be so, and so it seems to be, must we come to the conclusion that life is little better than a dream, and little worth the loves and strivings that we crowd into it?

No! Far be such miscalled philosophy from us, dear reader, on Christmas Day! Nearer and closer in our hearts be the Christmas spirit, which is the spirit of active usefulness, perseverance, cheerful discharge of duty, kindness, and forbearance! It is in the last virtues especially that we are, or should be, strengthened by the unaccomplished visions of our youth; for, who shall say that they are not our teachers, to deal gently even with the impalpable nothings of the earth!

Welcome, old aspirations, glittering creatures of an ardent fancy, to your shelter underneath the holly! We know you, and have not outlived you yet. Welcome, old projects and old loves, however fleeting, to your nooks among the steadier lights that burn around us. Welcome, all that was ever real to our hearts; and for the earnestness that made you real, thanks to heaven!

Welcome everything! Welcome alike what has been, and what never was, and what we hope may be, in your shelter underneath the holly, to your places round the Christmas fire, where what is, sits openhearted!

Of all days in the year, we will turn our faces toward that City upon Christmas Day, and from its silent hosts bring those we loved among us. In the Blessed Name wherein we are gathered together at this time, and in the Presence that is here among us according to the promise, we will receive, and not dismiss, the people who were dear to us!

Children in a doorway in Jerusalem

The winter sun goes down over town and village; on the sea it makes a rosy path, as if the Sacred Tread were fresh upon the water. A few more moments, and it sinks, and night comes on, and lights begin to sparkle in the prospect. In town and village, there are doors and windows closed against the weather; there are flaming logs heaped high; there are joyful faces; there is healthy music of voices. Be all ungentleness and harm excluded from the temples of the household gods, but be those memories admitted with tender encouragement! They are of Time and all the comforting and peaceful reassurances; and of the broad beneficence and goodness that too many men have tried to tear to narrow shreds.

I hope you enjoy some of these "writings," like the above article, that I've found and enjoyed. I'll share a few with you now and then through December.

Stressed out? Here's a hint to help that situation even at Christmas:

  • Simply laugh out really loud - as loud as you can! This releases chemicals into the blood stream that make you feel better and relaxed.

Don't forget to let me know if you want entered in the contest to win one of Molly Noble Bull's books! Now on to some beginning information about Sharlene Maclaren, Friday's interviewee . . .
Born and raised in west Michigan, Sharlene MacLaren attended Spring Arbor University. Upon graduating with an education degree way back in 1971, she traveled internationally for a year with a small singing ensemble, then came home and married one of her childhood friends. Together they raised two lovely daughters, both of which are happily married. Recently retired after teaching elementary school for 31 years, ‘Shar’ enjoys reading, writing, singing in the church choir and worship teams, traveling, and spending time with her family, which now includes her very wonderful, adorable, precious grandson.

. . . for it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child himself. --A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens


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