Democratic watchman. (Bellefonte, Pa.) 1855-1940, December 21, 1928, Image 2

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    PE ER
a ——————
Bellefonte, Pa., December 21, 1928.
Ee ————————
©O little town of Bethlehem,
How still we see thee lie !
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by;
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting light,
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight.
For Christ is born of Mary,
And gathered all above,
While mortals sleep, the angels keep
Their watch of wondering love.
O morning star together,
Proclaim the holy birth!
And praises sing to God the King,
And peace to men on earth.
How silently, how silently,
The wondrous gift is given !
So God imparts to human hearts,
The blessings of His heaven.
No ear may hear His coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still,
The dear Christ enters in.
© Holy Child of Bethlehem,
Descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin and enter in,
Be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell,
O come to us, abide with us,
Our Lord Emmanuel !
Be __
Far up the side of a Bethlehem hill
ish them always, my boy, for he re-
| peated them to you as he learned
i them out of that one Book Jehovah
yhanded down to His people. And
‘ever remember as the son of your
father, you are the descendant. of the
shepherd king, and that you are liv-
ing among those hills over which he
oy} his sheep, and that you have of-
ten stood on the spot where he was
tending his flock when the prophet
‘ Samuel called Jesse and his sons to
sacrifice, at the time the ruddy lad
| was annointed king. And you should
always be as kind, as faithful and as
brave as that singing shepherd
“God grant that I may,” answered
the boy as he arose and took the
lunch his mother had Just finished
wrapping in a clean white napkin.
With a kiss of thanks he passed
through the door. As he left the
house he paused a moment and said,
“Mother, I wish the King would make
haste and come, for the world is in
need of him. And when he comes,
as He is to sit upon David’s throne,
surely He will visit the city of David,
and then maybe I shall see Him.”
The sun moved farther and farther
downward as he roamed over the hills
again, with lunch and Sling, floing as
he imagined the boy David had done
in days so long gone by.
The last rays of sunlight were shot
as shining arrows from the golden
!bow of the west as the lad reached
ithe top of the hill that overlooked
the entire region. Bethlehem and
the steep declivity that leads into the
valley below were clearly visible. And
standing there the words of the pro-
phet came strongly to his mind: “But
thou Bethlehem Ephratah, though
thou be little among the thousands of
Judah, yet out of thee shall he come
stood a quaint shepherd’s cot, with forth unto me that shall be ruler in
the sheepfold nestling near. Along Israel; whose going forth have been
the slopes were little terraced gar- from of old, from everlasting.”
dens, shaded by olive orchards and !
“My father used to say,” he mused
trees, while at irregular intervals 'half aloud, “that the importance of a
were tenaciously clinging vineyards. city is not dependent upon the num-
The fields adjacent, though rough and ber of its inhabitants, the size of its
stony, were productive of much grain buildings, the height and circamfer-
under the constant industry of busy ence of its walls, but rather upon the
Some of this group of hills were so
character of its people; that one
truly great man with heart stronger
rugged that they seemed valueless than the brass that bars its gates,
but for pasturage. And even then
there was danger to shepherd and to
sheep because of narrow gorges and
steep declines.
rand head Jopering above its battle-
, ments, will lend Iu
ory when all other glory fades.”
His dream was suddenly interrupt-
ster to its mem-
e town of Bethlehem was situ- |ed; turning he saw slowly approach-
ated at the extreme end of the most
Important of these hills, Toward the
ing down the narrow, winding road,
a man from the mountain country,
Sunset it looked abruptly down upon | leading an ass upon whose back sat a
an extended plain where, more than |
twelve hundred years before, Ruth, |
the beautiful Moabitess, gleaned in
young and most beautiful woman.
The tired beast made poor headway. |
“We must reach the city before the
the fields of Boaz. The other end of | night grows dark,” said the weary,
this long gray hill graduated into the | but resolute man. “I fear the inn
lovely vale of the sunrise, while to-
will be crowded and food and shelter
ward Jerusalem on the other, the scarce, while already you are hungry
descents were steep and the valleys and worn,” with a tender anxiety in
There was no road leading to this |
secluded shepherd’s home, but plain
paths beaten hard by numberless tiny
feet, winding in and out to the pas-
ture fields and to the not far distant
“Mother, I am lonesome for father
today,” said the lad as he entered the
little home and came near to where
Melrhesa was preparing a lunch of
dried grapes, bread and butter,
“I want to 80 over the pastures
where father and I have strolled so
often together and watched the flocks,
I wish to visit the places where he
used to tell me over and over again,
and I never grew tired of hearing |
them, the stories of how David, the
shepherd boy, slew the lion and the
bear that attacked his flocks, I have
en with father even down in the
valleys where the grass is green and
the rugged hills and into the gorges
where the shadows of night seem ever
to hang, along the Slinpery paths
ead his sheep.
All of these stories come up fresh -
my mind today, and make me think
of my father, my kind and noble sire.
1 shall not forget that one night
I was with him tending the flock |
when we came across a little crippled
lamb. Nothing would do but that I
must carry it. Father lifted us up
into his bosom. It was so good to be
there. I was soon asleep. When I
awoke his turban cushioned a rock
for my pillow and his coat overspread
me. The tiny sheep was still in my
arms, In a moment, as soon as I
could think, I was not afraid; I knew
father was not far away, for he would
where David used to
never neglect his lambs.”
e very fact that your father
kept the sheep that were to be sac-
rificed in the temple may be why he
loved them so. You remember he i
would talk of the paschal lamb, in
the paschal season, and how he would
rejoice over the springtime birth of |
the flock,” she responded.
“Yes, mother, and it is fresh in my
mind how he would hide within his
bosom the first to be born, calling it
the ‘dear little lamb of God.’ He
seeined to feel aboutitin a peculiar
fashion. And while I may not know
Just what, still I fancy I have a kin-
dred feeling in my own heart.
“And would you not love to hear
him talk of the King whom he said
would one day sit upon the throne of
David ? Mother, father believed that
the King would not long delay his |
claimed: “Oh, t|
his voice.
“Surely, you have come on a long |
' journey,” said the boy with an inter-
. ested politeness; “wil
; this?” said he, stepping toward them
and holding forth his lunch.
“For her sake, I will,” answered
the man, in kindly tone, as he re-
ceived it from the outstretched hand
of the generous lad.
“You are very kind,” spoke up the
woman; “what is your name and
where do you live, my noble child?”
“Thank you,” answered he. “They
call me the Shepherd of Beth, and my
home is here among the hills of
“What a rare and beautiful name,
and how charming are these hills as
a dwelling place—these hills of Da-
vid. Yes, these are his hills and yon-
der is the city of the King. We, too,
are of the house and lineage of Da-
vid. That is why we are come.”
Then looking intently at the town
beyond, she murmured softly, while
a mysterious light shone in her won-
derful eyes: “But thou Bethlehem
Ephratah, though thou be little among
the thousands of Judah, yet out of
thee shall he come forth “unto me,
, that shall be ruler in Israel.”
And stretching forth her arms, like
a mother toward her child, she ex- |
hou dear little Bethle- |
hem town, I greet thee, I love thee, |
I embrace thee this night!” |
i The boy’s quick ear Saupht the in- |
y he an-
spiring words and eager
swered, “Oh, that he would hasten,
that I might see him, the King in his
“Yes he will come.” (With the
chime of bells in her voice). “Yes,
he will come. He may be nearer, even
now than you think.”
The man urged the slowly moving
animal onward. The boy stood -
ng as one transfixed, watching ther
retreating forms wind down the path
and up the side of the adjacent hill.
As one enraptured, he became
aware of the wonders of the evening.
Great streamers of light shone up-
ward from the sundown slopes, run-
ning along the sky, Jeaching to the
zenith, while the shadows from the
valleys crept upward and upward
till it was twilight on the hillerests;
, standing out in bold relief was the
i sacred town, until at last between
the purple of the east and the crim- b
son of the west, the gloom of earth
and the glow of heaven, Bethlehem
seemed like a sty 8 nded.
Homeward stro oe boy under
the charm of the enchanted evening, |
“His conversations made us eager while the stars one by one slipping
for the coming of the King,” she said. ' their silver sheaths, ran their long,
“And, mother, there were times brilliant blades downward, piercing
When he seemed to be with someone the blue.
whom I could not see. You remem-
On reaching home he related to his
ber the evening he went away, never mother, in animated words, the
to return, as we bent over him we
heard him say, ‘Jehovah is my shep-
things he had seen and heard, as she
0 | | urged him to pertais of Ms bolesed
herd, I do not want’ And as fainter . meal. Long they talked until at la a Bo Wi
grew his voice, he whispered, ‘Thy he said: “ other, the paschal season
rod and thy shepherd’s crook they
comfort me. Even if I walk in the
gorge dark with the gloom of death,
ear no evil, for thou are with
m ’
“Yes, my son,” replied his mother,
as she dried her cheeks, “I shall nev-
er forget his smile and the light in
his eyes as he exclaimed with his last
breath, ‘and I shall dwell in Jehovah's
house forever.’ »
“Oh, mother, I am not complainin,
that the Shepherd led him away; wt
hear his words and to listen to him
I am so hungry to see him
play on his once more.”
“My son, no ad ever had so noble | d
a sire. You should never forget his
words of council, the truth of the
wonderful stories he told you. Cher-
is very near, and the s epherds must,
right now, be keeping their night-
watches lest something happen to the
young lambs. May I go out and be
with them, as I used to do when
father was here?”
“My child, it is night,” said Mel-
{ rhesa.
“But, mother, while it is night, yet
I do not mim od I So Jot walt L
say eve as its ni u
lke * Rony every ni fit i Is
morning. : e ©
ry, made Brot day will not
the evening the mo make
every day? And as night has settled
own upon our beloved country, is it
not true that the
will soon dawn? And if Herod is the
last king, is it not time for Him to
you not accept
‘Something tells me He is coming!”
‘he exclaimed. “And now I must be
i of Bethlehem!”
,ressed the new found lamb, then
{world has not given sufficient heed
{to the language of childhood, Truth
their hearts and lives. Is there not
glorious morning
come whose right it is to reign?” i
His interest was so pronounced, ‘: were kne
and his persuasion so persistent that bo
at last with his assurances of return-
lowed him to go. i
Rested and refreshed by his stay’
at home, he hastened and ere long
reached the white patches of sheep
gently huddled together beneath the
listening stars. y was the
er group of the watching shap-
herds, who listened to the lads voice
as he talked kindly to the drowsy
flock. They heard his joyous excla-
mation, “Oh, you dear little lamb of
God!” i
And they called to him, saying,
“Shepherd of Beth, we are gladdened
at your coming!”
In another moment he was before
them holding fondly in his arms a
tiny lamb, while the young mother
followed close at his heeis.
“See! See!” he almost shouted.
“IU is the paschal lamb, and I am
first to find it.”
Every shepherd had to come and
touch the wee creature and to stroke
anxious, gentle mother. And
then they wrapped it carefully in a
blanket that it might not chill.
“We have been speaking of Tim-
mai, your father,” said Beneli, of
the number, as at last they turned
from the object of so much interest
and care. “He was with us last
paschal season. We remember how
he always carried the Book as well
as the staff. He seemed to know in
his heart all the pastoral psalms and
the prophecies concerning the Mes-
siah. We miss him much tonight.
So thrice welcome are you, our fine
little Shepherd of Beth.”
And thus they talked far on to-
ward midnight of the One by Pro-
moonbeam and stargleam
aded together in the golden
heaven and poured out by
nds from a silver chalice to
ing before the middle watch, she al- aRoink the jeweled bosom of the
The boy paused on his homeward
upon the shimmering
from over the radiant
hills came strange music, the newest
and sweetest ever heard.
of great joy!” rang
fields, while
out the triumpha
is born this day in the city of David
Christ, the Lord!”
“Glory to God!” shouted back the
might chorus from
a Savior which is
the seraphic
cling with their link-
joy-smitten summits.
“Glory to God in the highest, and on
earth peace and good will to men!”
How long he looked and listened he
never knew. His eyes followed the
glow as it receded from the love- |
ascending with the song
and fainter grew, until
hing was seen in the deep
but one glorious star, be-
ghtness all others pal-
near it seemed, this new
and wondrous luminary,
liqud beams which drop
splendor from its shining points.
the Angel Heralds se
taper in its er
adrons, encir:
touched hills,
i that fainter
fore whose bri
pulsing with
ped in limpid
t this flaming
ystal socket gleaming
down upon sleeping Bethlehem ?
At his mother’s call he hastened
Would he ever cease
Is there any
into the house.
his purling converse?
language comparable to the mystic
prattle of a heaven-brushed child?
Through the later
But it was to dream of a
woman with wondrous eyes stretch- ;
ing out her loving arms toward beau-
tiful Bethlehem, to dream of shep-
Did he sleep?
behold more closely. He felt like |
calling to them, like running after
them. They had passed so near and Th
yet in their eagerness had not seen
him. The Shepherd of Beth stood
‘alone watching and waiting for the
star which appeared not that night,
and never again upon Bethlehem
town and Judean plains did that
strange celestial visitant ever shine.
Fear and forehading struggled in
his heart, as at last he turned from
his disappointed watchings to enter
his cot. His sleep was disturbed by
. fitful dreams.
The next day it was reported that
the eager man and the beautiful
woman with the wonderful babe were
gone. They were there at sundown,
but at sunrise no one knew where
they were. As to the Magi it was said
{ they went away rather hurriedly in
the early morning toward the fords of
the Jordan and were seen no more.
The following day a number of
shepherds who had been to take some
of the flock to the sacrifice, returned
from Jerusalem with reports that
; brought terror to the inhabitants of
| Bethlehem. It was that Herod had
one of his moods. And when that
brutish king, that stranger of human-
ity, had one of his moods no one was
safe. For it was when he was in one '
of his moods that all the Sanhdrin
were executed save two; in one of
his moods Hyreanus, his wife's grand-
father, was killed; it was in one of his
jealous fits that his best loved wife,
Mariamme, was slain, and his sons |
err et ee er}
The un cry checked the
blow, but did not entirely stop it.
e blade came down with the flat
side striking the heroic boy across his
radiant forehead, and he sank beneath
the stroke.
A scream brought the astonished
mother from the door with the swift~
ness of the wind and, snatching up
her unhurt child, she dashed down the:
slope of the hill.
The soldier made no attempt to
follow, but stood as one turned to
stone. He gazed down spon the smit-
ten boy as he mu betwien his
teeth: “How horrible! Am
I commissioned to wage war on de-
fenseless women and helpless chil-
dren, rather than against tyrants?
Coward!” he Saver as he turned
his eyes toward Jerusalem. “I am
done!” And he flung down his pol-
luted sword. Then tenderly he bent
over the stricken lad.
: ree or four furlo from Dav-
id’s well, which is by the Bethlehem
gate, situated on Ramah’s crest on
the way to Jerusalem, is the tomb
of Rachel who mourned for her chil-
dren unborn, and for whom her chil-
dren, Joseph and Benjamin, wept be-
. cause of her untimely going.
And now that hill was crowded
with heartbroken ry And the
prolonged wail of lamentation and
great mourning was heard as the
voice of one, Rachel weeping for her
children and would not be comforted
because they were not.
And has it not always been thus,
murdered, and the High Priest, Aris- | childhood and motherhood each griev-
; tobulus, was drowned in his bath.
And now that this old diseased and
fiendish monarch, green with hate,
had one of his moods, it was no won-
der Jerusalem and the country round
. about were agitated.
Tar de
Pe ets
There’s a song in the air!
There’s a star in the sky!
There’s a mother’s deep prayer,
And a baby’s low cry!
And the star rains its fire while the beautiful sing,
For the manger of Bethlehem cradles a King!
There’s a tumult of joy
O’er the wonderful birth,
For the Virgin's sweet boy
Is the Lord of the earth,
Ay! the star rains its fire while the beautiful sing,
For the manger of Bethlehem cradles a King!
phets long foretold, of the place and
the time of His coming. And the boy
waxed warm in his childish eloquence
as he repeated the words he knew so
well: “But thou Bethlehem Bohratah,
though thou be little among the thou-
sands of Judah, yet out of thee shall
he come forth unto me that shall : be
ruler in Israel.” He related his meet-
ing with the travelers from the high- |
er country, and he pictured the beau- ;
ty of the woman with the wondrous
eyes, and how she had said, “He may
e nearer now than you think.” ;
“He is coming; He is coming !
ing in order to keep my promise to
amon Good night, shepherds
“Good night, little Shepherd of
Beth,” they ear responded.
He, stooping down, lo ly ear-
assed from their circle, out among
e sheep, and was gone. 3
“What a wonderful child,” said
marches forward on the faith of little
children. God often speaks through
in the bleat of the lamb the Phaphoey
of spring? Who can say out that
1 ance the voice of this shep-
herd lad there is the foretelling of
the coming of the Anointed of the
Loxd ?”
Suddenly the hills were over-spread
with a ce Ww, mellow as the
moonlight, pervading as the starlight,
radiant as the dawning. With a
glory unspeakable it rested upon the
ve leaves, glistened on the snowy
fleeces, lit up narrow defiles with-
out shadow and softened the jagged
roughness into beauty. It was as if
snow-white lambs, :
glowing hills vocal with radiant sing-
ers, to dream of a star with brilliant
ing and of the coming of the
During the succeeding da
people gathered in groups and talked
of the shepherd’s
of the star which so
They spoke of a man with an earnest
face, strong and eager in his care
of a beautiful young mother and her
, wonderful babe wrapped
bands and eradled in a manger.
Bethlehem was agitated over the
arrival of a number of men richly
gorgeous costume of
the Magi, who told of while in their
homes in the east country they had
seen a remarkable star and had fol-
lowed its guiding rays. With them
was a retinue of servants laden wth
costly gifts of gold and frankincense
myrrh, as offering to the New
Every night the Shepherd of Beth
Id walk out among the hills to
watch for the appearance of the star
that did not rise as other stars, but
which seemed to descend like a trans-
parent censer let down by cords of
light from the windows where the
ne night as he waited for the star
he saw a dark object moving along
the slope of the hill upon whose top
he stood. And now not far away,
low of the Judean skies,
he could make out the form of a man
walking beside an animal with a dark
shawled figure sitting upon its back,
eagerly cudding something in loving
They had come from the di- | he
rection of Jerusalem and, making all
possible haste, disappeared
darkness toward E .
ed something familiar about it all.
His heart warmed and he longed to
thrilling stories,
strangely shone.
in swaddling
robed in the
There seem-
Another day, and a runner spread
the news that soldiers were on their |
road to Bethlehem. Had word been
sent concerning violent confiscations
of property on the excuse of nonpay-
ment of taxes, in order that the men
folks might be away? At any rate
the Bethlehem men gathered much of
their belongings and carried them to
safe places among the hills eastward
toward the caves of David.
lang of arms at the gates and the
quiry concerning the Magi, and the
strange man and woman and babe.
On being informed that they were
nowhere to be found, he raged with
anger, and ordered all the children
two years of age to be brought
unto him. Unspeaka le fear gri
the hearts of the anxious mothers,
and they hid their babes within their
houses, but the heartless soldiery in-
vaded the sacred hiding places and
dragged forth the little ones without
they are slaying the children 1” rang
out the ery along the terror-stricken
streets. Never had such woe befallen
that eity. 3
But those heartless minions of a
hellish king stopped not there. Some
of them went to the shepherds’ dwel-
lings on the nearby hills lest some
mother’s darling might be in hiding.
One of these brutish ravagers ap-
proached a cot in front of which an
indulgent toddler was fondling a pet
lamb. Up to the innocent little friends
rushed with sword drawn.
“Hold! You would net murder a
babe, would you?” shouted a shrill,
clear voice, as a lad flung himself he-
Swen the descending sword and the
C. .
At last there was the elash and
i Bethlehem
{ie middle life became old, and the
ped aged fell asleep beneath the snow.
i ing for the other?
€ young moon hung low and red
beyond the hills, as the straggling
stars pinned down the curtains of
night upon that scene of tears.
rough anxious days and sleepless
| nights his mother watched beside and
tenderly nursed the wounded Shep-
i herd of Beth, while his heroic young
life fluttered ’twixt the stayng an
| the going.
But at last the fever left him and
he slept. In the morning he stirred;
he spoke his first articulate words
j Sziie all that dreadful time,
“Mother, it seems that T have pass-
“ed through a long and terrible night,”
, he said.
“Yes, but it is morning now, thank
| heaven, and you are better, my child.”
“And is it morning ? It seems that
iit should be. Please, mother, move
' corner.”
“You are in front of the door, my
| darling,” she gently coaxed.
“Mother, I hear your sweet voice
and feel your kind hand, but I can-
i not see your dear face,” he plaintive-
i ly pleaded.
With a fearful eagerness she bent
i over him and looked into his expres-
;sionless eyes. An unbearable pain
i seized her heart and gripped it till
she gasped in anguish. She stagger-
i ed backward against the lintel which
| alone kept her from falling. Her
nails bit deep into her palms.
“Mother, what's the matter?” he
exclaimed. “What hurts you? What
horrible monster is dragging you
from me? Why is it, I can hear and
feel, but cannot see? Why the morn-
ing turned to night? Oh, mother, I
am afraid! Speak to me touch me,
kiss me or I shall die V’
Strength came into her prayin
soul. She knelt beside the little bed.
Gently she stroked his nervous hands;
lovingly she carressed the shining
scar upon his forehead; fondly she
placed her cheeks upon his sightless
eyes and sweetly soothed him as only
a mother can, as she whispered his
own dear words back into his brave,
true heart: “I love to think every
every night will have its morning.”
It was known that a soldier's com-
' plete accoutrement was picked up
(bear by where the boy was struck.
A strangely silent man took up his
‘dwelling among the fastnesses of the
‘hills, and did many kindnesses to
| women and children, and who seemed
never to tire in his service to the
| Shepherd of Beth and his mother,
i And one of the things he often did
Was to lead the lad over the fields
‘and over the hills while he listened
to the sacred history so beautifully
‘and lovingly repeated.
Sometimes at his Tequest the lad
| was left alone to sit and think as he
| would wish. One evenin Melrhesa
| found him in the early tw light, with
the soft traces of tears upon his
cheeks. And in response to her gen-
| tle inquiry, he said: “Mother, I had
' hoped to see the King one day. Dees
everyone have a grave in his heart
Jere the fondest dream lies bur-
i 92
“I am inclined to think so my son,”
she answered. “Yet one should not
linger so long at the graveside as to
Samy the chill of the tomb away with
“But to make an occasional visit
and to lay there a few memory flow-
ers is not wrong, is it mother? I am
not grieving, but I sometimes live to
dream beside the grave of my dream,”
Then he added in a slow and mystical
c : tone, “And if the dead live not whence
little city lay at the mercy of the ‘then the whisperings of the voices I
soldiers. The centurion made en- | hear? Mother, it is good to turn my
face toward heaven, though my eyes
, cannot see.”
Many changed came and went in
and the country surround-
Children grew to manhood those
years blushed and paled as they
i played hide-and-seek with the faces
‘that passed beyond the skyline down
into memory’s dim vale.
Marvelous stories reached Bethle-
hem and the hills surrounding, stories
“ i . | concerning an austere man clothed in
They are slaying the children; 150 wo Jos: ne ae the
| wilderness, whose food was dried
(locusts dipped in wild honey. Vast
! multitudes from Jerusalem, Judeah
| and the land adjacent to the Jordan
! were attracted to this son of the for-
{mer High Priest, Zacharias, who
! came not only with the authority of
a high priest, but also in the power
of a prophet, proclaiming “the king-
i dom of heaven stands on the thresh-
I old.”
Near the close of his few short
months of public ministration, there
came to this rugged messenger a
young man matchless in his comeli-
ness, holding éonverse with him and
demanding his priestly anointing.
(Continued on page 7, Col. 1.)