The citizen. (Honesdale, Pa.) 1908-1914, December 13, 1912, Image 1

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70111 YKAH NO. 01).
Localized .
c. a. Mccarty.
POETHY clings with cherishing
game and holiday revel,
from which it has derived so
many of Its themes as the
ivy winds Its ricli foliage
about ahe Gothic arch and
fondness about the rural
mouldering tower, grate
fully repaying their support, by
clasping together their tottering re
mains, and, as it were, embalming
them in verdure.
Of all the old festivals, however,
that of Christmas awakens the
strongest and most lieartfelt associa
tions. There is a tone of solemn
and sacred feeling that blends with
our conviviality, and lifts the spirit
to a state of hallowed and elevated
enjoyment The services of the
church about this season are ex
tremely tender and inspiring; they
dwell on the beautiful story of the
origin of our faith, and the pas
toral scenes that accompanied its an
nouncement; they gradually Increase
In fervor and pathos during the sea
son of Advent, until they break
forth In full jubilee on the morning
that brought peace and good-will to
men. I do not know a grander ef
fect of music on the moral feelings
than to hear the full choir and the
pealing organ performing a Christ
inas anthem in a cathedral, and fill
ing every part of the vast pile with
triumphant harmony.
It is a beautiful arrangement,
also, derived from days of yore, that
this festival, which commemorates
the announcement of the 'religion of
peace and love, has been made,the
reason for gathering together of
family connections, .and drawing
closer again those bands of kindred
hearts, which the cares and pleas
ures and sorrows of the world are
continually operating to cast loose;
of calling back the children of a
family, who have launched forth In
life, and wandered widely asunder,
once more to assemble about the
paternal hearth, that rallylng-place
of the affections, there to grow
young and loving again among the
endearing mementos of childhood.
There Is something In the very
season of the year, that gives a
charm to tho festivity of Christmas.
At other times, we derive a great
portion of our -pleasures from the
mere beauties of Nature. Our feel
ings sally forth and dissipate them
selves over the sunny landscape, and
wo " live abroad and everywhere."
The song of the bird, the murmur
of the stream, tho breathing frag
rance of spring, the soft voluptuous
ness of summer, the golden pomp of
autumn; earth with Its mantle of re
freshing green, and heaven with its
deep delicious blue and its cloudy
magnificence all fill ue with mute
exquisite delight, and we revel in
the luxury of mere sensation. But
In tho depth of winter, when Nature
lies despoiled of every charm, and
wrapped In her shroud of eheeted
snow, wo turn for our gratifications
to moral sources. Tho dreariness and
desolation of the landscape, the
Bhort gloomy days and darksome
nights, while they circumscribe our
wanderings, shut in our feelings also
from rambling abroad, and make us
more keenly disposed for the pleas
ures of tho social circle. Our
thoughts are more concentrated; our
friendly sympathies more aroused.
We feel more sensibly tho charm of
each other's society, and are brought
more closely together by dependence
on each other for enjoyment. Heart
calloth unto heart, and wo draw our
pleasures from the deep wells of living-kindness
which lie in tho quiet
recesses of our bosom; and which,
when resorted to, furnish forth the
pure element of domestic felicity.
Tho pitchy gloom without makes
the heart dilate on entering tho
room filled with tho glow and
warmth of tho evening fire. The
Tilflilv hlflTn HlffifRna nn nrtlflplnl cum.
- ....... . ... .
mer and sunshlno through the room,
and lights up each countenance into
a kindlier -welcome. Where does
the honest face of hospitality expand
into a broader and more cordial
emllo whero is tho shy glance of
love more sweetly eloquent than
by the winter fireside? and as the
hollow blast of wintry wind rushes
through the hall claps tho distant
door, whistles about tho casement,
and rumbles down tho chimney,
what can bo more grateful than that
leellng of sober and sheltered se
curity, with which wo look round
upon tho comfortablo chamber, and
tho scenes of domestic hilarity;
Tho English, from tho great pro
valence of rural habits throughout
every class of society, have always
been fond of those festivals and uoi
idays which agreeably Interrupt tho
stillness of country lire: and they
were In former days particularly ob
servant of -the religious and social
rights of Christmas. It Is inspiring
to read oven tho dry details which
Christmas Number,
Nineteen Hundred and Twelve.
some antiquaries have given to the
quaint humors, tho burlesque page
ants, the complete abandonment to
mirth and good fellowship wltb
which this festival was celebrated
It seemed ito throw open every door,
and unlock every heart. It brought
tho peasant and tho peer together,
and blended all ranks In one warm
generous flow of Joy and kindness.
Tho old hall of castles and manor
houses resounded with the harp and
the Christmas carol, and their amplo
boards groaned under tho weight of
hospitality. Even the poorest cot
tage welcomed tho festive season
with green decorations by bay and
holly, tho cheerful flro glanced its
rays through the lattice. Inviting tho
passengers to raise tho latch, and
join the gossip knot huddled round
the hearth, beguiling the long even
ing with legendary Jokes, and oft
told Christmas talcs.
Ono of tho least pleasing effects
of modern refinement Is tho havoc it
has made among the hearty old
holiday customs. It has completely
taken off the sharp touchlngs and
spirited reliefs of these embellish
ments of life, and has worn down
society into a more smooth and pol
ished, hut certainly a less character
istic surface. Many of the games
and ceremonials of Christmas have
entirely disappeared, and, like the
sherds sack of old Kalstaff, are be
come matters of speculation and
dispute among commentators. They
flourished in times full of spirit and
lustihood, when men enjoyed life
roughly, hut heartily and vigorous
ly; times wild and picturesque,
which have furnished poetry with
its richest materials, and the
drama with Its most attractive vari
ety of characters and manners. Tho
world has become more worldly.
Thero Is more dissipation and
less of enjoyment. Pleasure has
expanded into a broader, but a
shallower stream, and has forsaken
many of those deep and quiet chan
nels, where It llowed sweetly through
tho calm bosom of domestic life.
Society has acquired a more en
lightened and elegant tone; but it
has lost many of its strong, local
peculiarities, Its homebred feelings,
its honest fireside delights. Tho
traditionary customs of golden
hearted antiquity, its feudal hospi
talities, and lordly wassailings, have
passed away with the baronial cas
tles and stately manor-houses In
which they were celebrated. They
comported with tho shadowy hall,
the great oaken gallery, and tho
tapestried parlor, but are unfitted to
the light showy saloons and gay
dre.wlng-rooms of the modern .villa.
Shorn, howover.u&sx'itifff. o kilts
ancient and
mas is still a period of delightful
excitement in England. It 1s grati
fying to see that home feeling com
pletely aroused which holds so pow
erful a place in every English bo
som. The preparations making on
every side for the social board that
is again to unite friends and kind
red, the presents of good cheer pass
ing and repassing, those tokens of
regard and quickeners of kind feel
ings, the evergreens distributed
about houses and churches, emblems
of peace and gladness, all these have
the most pleasing effect In produc
ing fond associations, and kindling
benevolent sympathies. Even the
sound of the waifs, rude as may ho
their minstrelsy, breaks upon tho
midwatches of a winter night with
the effect of perfect harmony. As I
havo been awakened by them In that
still arid solemn hour "when deep
sleep falleth upon man," I have lis
tened with a hushed delight, and
connecting them with the sacred and
joyous occasion, have almost fancied
them Into another celestial choir,
announcing peace and good-will to
mankind. How delightfully tho
imagination, when wrought upon by
these moral Influences, turns every
thing to melody and beauty! Tho
very crowing of the cock, heard
sometimes in tho profound repose of
tho country, "twilling tho night
watches of his feathery dames," was
thought by the common people to
announce tho approach of this sacred
Amidst tho general call to happi
ness, tho bustlo of the spirits, and
6tlr of tho affections, which prevail
at this period, what bosom can re
main Insensible? It is, Indeed, tho
season of regenerated feeling tho
season for kindling not meroly the
fire of hospitality in tho hall, but
the genial llamo of charity In the
heart. Tho scene of early lovo again
rises green to memory beyond tho
storllo waste of years, and tho Idea
of homo,4raught with tho fragranco
of home-dwelling Joys, reanimates
tho drooping spirit, as tho Arabian
breezo will sometimes waft the
freshness of tho distant fields to the
weary pilgrim of tho desert.
Stranger and sojourner as I am
In the land though for mo no so
cial hearth may blaze, no hospitable
roof throw open Its doors, nor the
warm grasp of friendship welcome
mo at tho threshold yet I feel tho
Inlluonco of the season beaming Into
my soul from itho happy looks of
thoso around mo. Surely happiness
is reilectivo, Hko tho light of heav
en; and every countenanco bright
with smiles, and glowing with Inno
cent enjoymout, is a mirror trans
mitting to othor8 tho rays of a su
premo and over-shining benevol
ence. He who can turn churlishly
awny from contemplating the felicity
of his fellow-beings, and can sit
down darkling and repining In his
loneliness when all around Is joy
ful, may have his momenta of strong
excitement and selfish gratification,
but ho wants the genial and social
sympathies which constitute tho
charm of a merry Christmas.