Thursday, December 21, 2017

Christmastide All Year Long

Excepts from "Just Thoughts of a Plain Country Woman" by Lucile Ellingwood Morrow originally published in The Collinsville News, December 11, 1958.

"Once a year we see a miracle. Every hearth is decked with evergreen-every heart is full of cheer-even some Scrooges stop to drop a coin in on out-stretched palm and there is no such thing as a badboy!It's Christmas--the miracle that brings out the best in us. But can't you see what it would mean if it were always Christmas? What a different world this would be!Suppose instead of a date in December Christmas was a perpetual state of heart! However rich or modest the holiday tree this year, everyone shares the best of all-Christmas. It's a proud and priceless gift, but it comes as surely with the humble greeting card or the stranger's holiday smile as it doeswith the· expensive present.Christmas is as real and warm and intangible as sunshine, and like sunshine, it is given freely tothe world-wide family of men, brushing aside the petty ranks of :position, wealth, race and nationality.This gift comes tied with the broad strong bonds linking today with the long ago and far-away countries. These are as close as next door neighbors at Christmas time, because we know Christmashas brought them the same traditions, reverence, joy and hope as have come to us..Christmas comes in particularly mysterious packages for youngsters, and rightly so, for it was aChild who brought the gift to earth. To all of us, it restores and recalls a little of the innocent faith and bubbling excitement with which children view the Day.Chistmas brings the gift of a refreshing vacation in life's everyday battles. If not peace itself, Christmas gives at least a yearly glimpse of the universal brotherhood that is possible and spurs usto greater effort. And this is to be no passing or temporary gift. We can count on its return every year. For when a girl named Mary stood so long ago and heard about the Son she was to bear, the angel promised:"And of His kingdom there shall be no end."So now that the season of the year called Christmas is at hand we will all do well to pause andreflect on the true meaning of this Birthday. •Soon in schools and churches we'll all be practicing the children's programs. Mothers will be busy preparing costumes, or gifts, or goodies. There will be the search for gifts that has of late years turned into an orgy of spending, of shoving in crowded stores, with the resultant rush and accompanying short tempers at a time when Good Will should reign.Let us not make the mistake that the four little girls in the mission program made. Each of the girls was to give a recitation and hold up a letter of cardboard, the four letters spelling "Star." But in lining up in the aisle as they approached the platform, they became reversed and to the consternation of all, their letters spelled "Rats."So we often get into reverse order as the Christmas "daze" approaches. We, too, mean to spell out the sublime idea, but we give wrong things first place.Small children usually learn the real meaning of Christmas in the home and in the church. Then asthey grow up it becomes a time for revelry that has little to do with the true spirit of the Day. Back comes the deeper meaning and the joy seems to linger longer and longer with each succeeding year of life. That is good. That is what the gift of Christmas was I for in the beginning. Let us be determined at this Christmas-tide to take the time to get the real meaning and true joy of the Nativity before us - to give our spirits time to catch up with our bodies.Let us not replace the Babe with Santa Claus lest we, like the revellers at the Inn, fail to see the Star, too.

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