September 23, 2020

A Christmas Sampler

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. – Matthew 2:1-2.

Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat, Please to put a penny in the old man’s hat; If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’penny will do, If you haven’t got a ha’penny, God bless you! – Anonymous.

It is the fashion, I believe, to regard Christmas as a bore of rather a gross description, and as a time when you are invited to overeat yourself, and pretend to be merry without just cause. As a matter of fact, it is one of the prettiest and most poetic institutions possible, if observed in the proper manner, and after having been more or less unpleasant to everybody for a whole year, it is a blessing to be forced on that one day to be amiable. – M.A.B. Russell, 1900.

Every family against Christmass comes makes a famous pye, which they call a Christmass pye: It is a great nostrum the composition of this pastry; it is a most learned mixture of neats – tongues, chicken, eggs, sugar, raisins, lemon and orange peel, various kinds of spicery, etc. – Henri Misson, 1719.

Christmas is here: Winds whistle shrill. Icy and chill. Little care we. Little we fear Weather without, Sheltered about The Mahogany Tree. – William Makepeace Thackeray, “The Mahogany Tree.”

I heard bells on Christmas Day Their old, familiar carols play, And wild and sweet The words repeat Of peace on earth, good-will to men. – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

There were church bells, too … in the bat-black, snow-white belfries tugged by bishops and storks. And they rang their tidings over the bandaged town, over the frozen foam of the powder and ice-cream hills, over the crackling sea. It seemed that all the churches boomed for joy under my window; and the weathercock crew for Christmas, on our fence. … Looking through my bedroom window, out into the moonlight and the unending smoke – colored snow, I could see the lights in the windows of all the other houses on our hill and hear the music rising from them up the long, steadily falling night. I turned the gas down, I got into bed.

I said some words to the close and holy darkness, and then I slept. – Dylan Thomas, from “A Child’s Christmas in Wales.”

The mosaic religion had been a Father religion; Christianity became a Son religion. The old God, the Father, took second place; Christ, the Son, stood in His stead, just as in those dark times every son had longed to do. – Sigmund Freud, from “Moses and Monotheism.”

But my song I troll out, for Christmas stout, The hearty, the true, and the bold; A bumper I drain, and with might and main Give three cheers for this Christmas old! – Charles Dickens, from “The Pickwick Papers.”

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