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CHRISTMAS
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[ Also see Christ Christ (Saviour) Death of Christ December Holidays Resurrection of Christ Santa Claus Snow Trees ]

A good conscience is a continual Christmas.
      - Benjamin Franklin

How bless'd, how envied, were our life,
  Could we but scape the poulterer's knife!
    But man, curs'd man, on Turkeys preys,
      And Christmas shortens all our days:
        Sometimes with oysters we combine,
          Sometimes assist the savory chine;
            From the low peasant to the lord,
              The Turkey smokes on every board.
      - John Gay, Fables (pt. I, fable 39)

To-day the whole Christian world prostrates itself in adoration around the crib of Bethlehem and rehearses in accents of love a history which precedes all time and will endure throughout eternity. As if by an instinct of our higher, spiritual nature, there well up from the depths of our hearts, emotions which challenge the power of human expression. We seem to be lifted out of the sphere of natural endeavor to put on a new life and to stretch forward in desire to a blessedness which, though not palpable, is eminently real.
      - James Gibbons (1)

What babe new born is this that in a manger cries?
  Near on her lowly bed his happy mother lies.
    Oh, see the air is shaken with white and heavenly wings--
      This is the Lord of all the earth, this is the King of Kings.
      - Richard Watson Gilder, A Christmas Hymn
         (st. 4)

Christians, stand at Bethlehem and every door and window of your being Christward. Look backward, Look forward. Magnify Bethlehem. Recount to your souls the things for which it stands. It stands for the "fulness of time." It stands for the fulfilment of glorious predictions. It stands for the realization of those burning hopes which made the heroic men of the past. It stands for the coming of the Son of God Himself into our nature. It stands for the glorious past and for the more glorious future. As the dawn carries in it the full day, it carries in it the salvation of man, and the triumph of the right over the wrong, and the coming millennial glory of the kingdom of Jesus Christ. . . .
      - David Gregg,
        (first part of Christmas statement; see "When we comprehend the backward . . .)

God framed the history of the world in view of the coming of Jesus Christ. In the very beginning He chose a family whose line of descent should run directly from Eden to Bethlehem. This family God took into covenant with Himself, and the promise of the covenant was that of its seed Christ should be born in the fulness of time. This covenant-line runs through the whole of the Old Testament as the golden thread runs through the beautiful fabric. Everything centres in this covenant-line. It unifies the Old Testament. It is the cord upon which the pearls of history are strung. Keep this in mind, and it will explain a thousand mysteries and perplexities in reading the Old Testament.
      - David Gregg

In the past, Christ was in the genealogies, stepping Bethlehemward. Every time a new descendant in the covenant-line was born, the voice of prophecy shouted: "Christ is coming!" As ancestor was added to ancestor, the voice waxed louder and louder. Thus the shout was repeated and repeated until at last the angels and the magi and the shepherds and the watchers in the Temple answered back that shout with the gladder and louder shout, "Christ has come!" That is the Christmas shout which today Church of God throws to Church of God all through Christendom.
      - David Gregg

When we comprehend the backward and forward reach of Bethlehem, we do not wonder that all that is grand crowds around the Cradle-Manger. It is worthy of all. Let the Star shine. Let the Magi give gifts. Let the Shepherds worship. Let the angel-faces flash out from the great dome overhead. Let the church-bells chime. Let the sacred harps and organs respond to the masterhand that sweeps their strings and flies over their keys, and let them turn the common air into praise. Let Christmas carols roll over this wide earth, and echo among the stars. Let the great universe of God jubilate. Let everything in Heaven and earth shout, "Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the Highest." While all this takes place, see to it, O my soul, that thou carriest thyself to Bethlehem, to receive, to love, and to trust, and to worship. Be thou certainly there; and while there recognize Christ, honor Christ, reincarnate Christ, and call Christ God.
      - David Gregg,
        (second part of Christmas statement; see "Christians, stand at Bethlehem . . .")

Never deny the babies their Christmas! It is the shining seal set upon, a year of happiness. Let them believe in Santa Claus, or St. Nicholas; or Kriss Kringle, or whatever name the jolly Dutch saint bears in your religion.
      - Marion Harland (pseudonym of Mary Virginia Hawes Terhune)

'Tis the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial fire of charity in the heart.
      - Washington Irving

As I sat on a sunny bank
  On Christmas day in the morning
    I spied three ships come sailing in.
      - Washington Irving,
        The Sketch Book--The Sunny Bank

The chief charm of Christmas is its simplicity. It is a festival that appeals to everyone, because every one can understand it. * * * A genuine fellowship pervades our common life--A fellowship whose source is our common share in the gift of the world's greatest Life which was given to the whole world.
      - Arthur Reed Kimball

High noon behind the tamarisks, the sun is hot above us--
  As at home the Christmas Day is breaking wan,
    They will drink our healths at dinner, those who tell us how they love us,
      And forget us till another year be gone!
      - Rudyard Kipling, Christmas in India

The belfries of all Christendom now roll along the unbroken song of peace on earth, goodwill to men!
      - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Shepherds at the grange,
  Where the Babe was born,
    Sang with many a change,
      Christmas carols until morn.
      - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,
        By the Fireside--A Christmas Carol
         (st. 3)

I heard the 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,
        Christmas Bells (st. 1)

Hail to the King of Bethlehem,
  Who weareth in his diadem
    The yellow crocus for the gem
      Of his authority!
      - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,
        Christus--The Golden Legend (pt. III)

"What means this glory round our feet,"
  The Magi mused, "more bright than morn!"
    And voices chanted clear and sweet,
      "To-day the Prince of Peace is born."
      - James Russell Lowell, Christmas Carol

Let's dance and sing and make good cheer,
  For Christmas comes but once a year.
      - Sir George Alexander Macfarren,
        From a Fragment (before 1580)

This is the month, and this the happy morn,
  Wherein the Son of Heaven's eternal King,
    Of wedded maid and virgin mother born,
      Our great redemption from above did bring,
        For so the holy sages once did sing,
          That He our deadly forfeit should release,
            And with His Father work us a perpetual peace.
      - John Milton,
        Hymn--On the Morning of Christ's Nativity

Ring out ye crystal spheres!
  Once bless our human ears,
    If ye have power to touch our senses so;
      And let your silver chime
        Move in melodious time,
          And let the bass of Heaven's deep organ blow;
            And with your ninefold harmony
              Make up full consort to the angelic symphony.
      - John Milton,
        On the Morning of Christ's Nativity
         (st. 13), a hymn

'Twas the night before Christman, when all through the house
  Not a creature was stirring,--not even a mouse:
    The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
      In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.
      - Clement Clarke Moore, LL.D.,
        A Visit from St. Nicholas

It is the Christmas time:
  And up and down 'twixt heaven and earth,
    In glorious grief and solemn mirth,
      The shining angels climb.
      - Dinah Maria Mulock (used pseudonym Mrs. Craik)

God rest ye, little children; let nothing you affright,
  For Jesus Christ, your Saviour, was born this happy night;
    Along the hills of Galilee the white flocks sleeping lay,
      When Christ, the Child of Nazareth, was born on Christmas Day.
      - Dinah Maria Mulock (used pseudonym Mrs. Craik),
        Christmas Carol (st. 2)

To realize this purpose--to change humanity, to triumph over evil, and to honor the Father by a union never to be broken of the Father and the many sons who should be brought unto glory--this was the thought which filled the mind of Jesus Christ. This is the meaning of Christmas; and as we love God with soul and mind and strength, and prove our divine sonship by good will and kindness toward all our fellow-men, we shall realize the divine idea of our Master and unite in His blessed work.
      - Observer


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