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jHE pastor was in
is a thought, A is to guide him rightly for many a day he'd sought, And there was not a single volume on the Shelves above or below That could throw any light on the problem that puzzled and vexed him so. For the harvest season was over, and Christ mas was close at hand. And the glow of the rising splendor already il lumed the land And there on the desk before him, in orderly neatness, lay The sermon he meant to deliver to his people on Christmas day. So'twas not tbis that disturbed him, nor was he a moment vexed By any doubt or delusion in regard to his chosen text For he preached but a simple gospel, in lan guage as terse and plain As the smooth, round pebbles that David took when the mlglity giant was slain. The pastor thought of his little flocU, the chil dren great and small. And great was the loving-kindness with which he regarded all And yet a wave of trouble ran over his heart, because They thought much less of Jesus Christ than they did of Santa Claus. For one and another whispered—their words hud an eager ring,— "What shall I get on Christmas? What will Santa Claus bring?" And as everywhere and ever the thirst for gain increased. The charm of a kindly presence was missed from the royal feast. The pastor sat in his study, when his good wife opened the door, And together they held communion and talked the trouble o'er And she, being quick of fancy, in a moment or two had planned A better way for keeping the day that was now so close at ban.I. The pastor gave the notice from the pulpit, next Sabbath morn, And to brain and heart, like a swift-winged dart, was the startling message borne. For he spoke in words of Are the truth they must all believe: "The Master has said: 'It is far more blessed to give than to receive And if at the Christmas season you'd be richly and truly blest. Bring hither your votive offering,—and let it be of your best,— And give to tlie poor around you with generous heart and hand. That peace and good-will to men may fill t^e length and breadth of the land." 'Twas early in bleak December the barrels came roiling in. The farmers sending tliolr choicest from well stored barn and bin: There were apples and pears In plenty, and pumpkins, yellow as gold. And nuts and potatoes, together enough for a vessel's hold. And bags on bugs of flour and of coffee, and chests of tea, And strings of onions and peppers, —oh! 'twas a goodly sight to see. And the work of nimble Angers to such an amount was there. It seemed as if the collection outrivaled the County Fair. There were dolls of assorted sizes, and some that had been much used. For the little folks had nought else to give and not a gift was refused For the pastor wou.d teach the lesson to chil dren of tender years. That the gift that secures a blessing must be consecrated with tears. Oh, crisp and cesr Christmas dawned that year the church was with holly drest, And the bells rang out a merry chime that echoed from cast to west And around the altar and down the aisles were baskets and barrels stowed, Whi'.e up on the pulpit and into the pews the gifts had overflowed. Tr IB FAR MORE BFTKSSBD TO GIVE THAN TO REOUVB." Oh, happy were pastor and people as they gath ered from new and far. Their hearu revived and illumined by the light of Bethlehem's star And happy the poor and needy to whom were toe good things given OUR ANNUAL Saviour's feet they knelt. Away to the a flash. Tore open the shu up the sash. The moon on the breast fallen snow Cave a luster of midday to objects below: When what to my should appear But a miniature slei tiny reindeer, With a little old driver and quick. I knew in a moment it mm, be St. Nick. More rapid than eagle* hi, they came And he whistled and shout called them by name— Now. Dasher! now. Dancer Prancer and Vixen! On. Comet1 on. Cupid1 on. Doaner and Blitzen— To the top of the porch, to the top of the wall! Now. dash away, dash away dash away all!" A* dry leaves that before the Lgg£if££s That carried a blessing with them and lifted their souls to Heaven: For out of this rich abundance the hungry were sweetly fed. The naked were clothed, and the sick and sor rowful cheered and comforted And so great was the joy of giving, that pastor and people felt As if with the wise men of the east at the Oh, never a brighter Christmas had dawned on tbe dull old town. Never had richer blessings been scattered so freely down And taught by the Holy Spirit their selfish greed to subdue, All hearts rejoiced—and on Christmas day was the Christ child born anew. —Josephine Pollard, in Demorest's Monthly. HAPPY NEW YEAR. To One and All, the Young, the Old, the High, the Low. A happy new year to you, child of to-day! May you know more of sun shine than of cloud, and more of glee than of sorrow may your tumbles and bumps be few, your laughter be fre quent and long, your play be unre- Twas the night before Christmas. when all throagh the house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. The stockings were hung by chimney with care. In hopes that St. Nicholas would be .there. The children were nestled all in their beds. While visions of sugar plum: in their heads. And mamma in her kerchi in my cap, Had just settled our winter's nap. When out on the such a clatter I sprang from my was the m*i WHO hurricane fly. When they meet with an obstacle mount to the sky. So up to the house-top t&ft coursers they flew. With the sleigh full of Coys—autf. St Nicholas, too. strained, your sleep refreshing, your dreams pleasant. A happy new year to you, bright youth of our city and country—all hap piness in the ambition, the joy, the friendships, the competitions and the rewards of school life. Success to you in the endeavor whereby the firm, en during basis of true manhood and of no ble womanhood are laid with what suc cess comes two-fold happiness—happi ness to others and happiness to your selves. Go forth gayly and confidently into the new year, O, you who are beautiful in the fresh vigor of your youth! A happy new year to you, young man! We know your secret! Your fal tering speech, your diverted -glances, your smart attire—these and other tell tale signs have betrayed you, and there is uncommon sympathy in our hearts as we bid you a happy new year. But to be happy you must be brave. Go, like a man, and speak your mind to her pour out into her willing ear the full measure of your soul she has a gentle heart and she will requite you. It is not well for yon twain to live apart but your happiness is within your comprehension. Fate is propitious, the time is ripe and the girl is willing. "OLORY TO OOP IN THE HIGHEST, AND ON EARTH PEACE, GOOD WILL TOWARD MEN." And why do you blush, coy maiden, as we address to you the compliments of this happy season? Can it be that a qualm oppresses your tender con science? Have you been playing the coquette—O! monster of ruthlessness have you been leveling in the anguish which your bright eyes and pretty face have entailed? We cannot bid you be happy when we know that you, unde serving, should not and cannot be blessed with happiness until you have made reparation. Hasten to pluck the brand from the burning save the cal low but honest William ere he alto gether perish in the delightful torments which your charms inspire. To you, whose lives are hallowed with the grace of maternity, not one but many, many years of happiness! Live long, wives and mothers of this land, to see the little lives you have cherished so tenderly expand into beauty and use fulness live long to know and feel the sweet rewards of gratitude, of venera tion and of love. Survive those hours -***& I KNEW IN A MOMENT IT MUST BE ST. NICK." of pain, of cruelty, of watching and of sacrifice—live through it all, dear, pa tient martyrs, to share the peace, the repose, the contentment, the compensa tions of the future that surely wait for such as you. We wish a happy new year to him whose life is inspired by honorable pur pose and whose strength is expended in honorable endeavor. Whatsoever his condition, whatsoever his environment, long life to him, we say, and may this new year, if it do not find him already advanced in the way to success and hap piness, point and conduct him thereunto. A happy new year, too, to you, grand mothers and grandfathers everywhere! Look out upon all around you and see how passing fair the evening is and all that is to be heard invites contentment and repose. You hear voices, too, that we do not hear—they have never been quite forgotten, and they speak to you in the sweetly solemn twilight of the morning that followeth the evening, and of the waking that cometh after the folding of the hands to sleep. Yes, to all—the young, the old, the high, the low—a happy new year, a happiness arising from and tempered with wisdom, faith, hope and charity,— Eugene Held, in Chicago News. LOUIE'S WANTS. A Little School Roy's Christmas Speech. I want a horn for Christmas That makes a lot of noise 1 want a drum, And a top to hum, And wagon loads of toys. 1 want a sled with runners, 1 want a chair that rocks I want a ball The most of all. And lots of building blocks. I want a little table, 1 want a pig that hollers, A gun that shoots, And rubber boots, And a bank chuck full of dollars. I want a bag of marbles, I want a chest of tools A woolly goat, SANTA CLAUS' VISIT. And a painted boat. And a wagon hitched to mules. 1 want a game of checkers, I want a bell to ring A dog that bark And Noah's arks, And, oh!—'most everything! —Eva Best, in Detroit Free Press. AN ACROSTIC. Hark! the bells are ringing sweet, Answering up and down the street, Paasersby each other greet. Paying courtly compliment, Young and old on pleasure bent. Now these wishes, old and new, Every one 1 wish for you, With a loving heart and true. Yours be every-blessing bright, Every blossom of delight, All good angels guide you, dear, Round the sunny, circling year! —Youth's Companion. SUPPRESSED HILARITY. A Few Words in Behalf of the Children in the Holiday Season. Be patient with children's racket these holidays. We feel sorry for boys, because they are not exempt from troubles, and one of the worst is sup pressed hilarity. To want to laugh still maintain gravity to see the min ister's wig getting twisted and yet look devotional to discover a mouse in prayer-time and yet not titter to see the yonng bride and groom in church try to look like old married people to have the deacon drop the contribution plate and spill the pennies, and yet look sony for the misfortune in a word, to be a boy with fun from the top hair on SUPPLEMENT the crown of the head to the tip end of the great toe, and yet .make no demon stration, is a trial with which we are deeply sympathetic. To sit on a long bench at school with eight or ten other boys, all able to keep quiet only by utmost force of resolution, and some thing happen that makes all the rest snicker, while you abstain, requires an amount of heroic endurance we never reached. I remember well how a rattan feels when it arrives in the open palm at the rate of sixty miles an hour. In my first ten years I sup pressed enough giggles* smiles, chuckles and yells to have ruined me for all time. I so often retired from the sit ting-room when we had company to the wood-shed, where my mirth would be no disturbance to anything but the ash-barrels, that I have all allowance to make for that age of life which is apt to be struck through the titter. I still feel the boy in my nature when ludi crous things happen, as when a city ex quisite came into the prayer-meeting, And then, in twinkling, I heard on the roof The prancing and pawing of each little boof drew in my bead and was around chimney St. Nicholas ^*ith a bound *as dressed all in furs from his £iead to his foot. clothes were all tarnished ashes and soot— l^toys he had hang on bae CSPYRlGHTnfct^ A Ted litJe a peddler just Openriffe hisj&ck eye*r hof^mey twinkled hi* merry like roses, his ry— was drawn HAPPY was as he Meld in ed hi* ee/an^a little lauched like II Wjel hen I him ia ad notb* ((j^ekaiide of himncy his team like the in. ere h* to all and to tr :MBNT Mooas- whisk-cane in hand, and fanciful eye glass on, looked sublimely around on the audience as much as to say: "I sup pose you all see that I am here," and then sat down where a chair had just before stood, but from which place the usher had inadvertently removed it. Had it not been for an extemporized cough and sneeze and active use of the pocket handkerchief on my part I should have been hopelessly ruined.—Talmage, in N. Y. Observer. —Two Ladies Shopping.—"What shall we buy George for Christmas?" "I don't know something useful, how ever." "That's just what I think." And then, after three or four hours' hard work (for the salesman) they purchased a penwiper done in moire antique with lace trimmings and a mother-of-pearl bootjack.—Boston Transcript. —He Looked Up the Address.—"Can I see Santa Claus?" asked the small boy, entering Fogg's toy store. "He's not here, sonny," returned the old man, kindly. "Why do you look for him in my place?" "Well, I saw your name on the wagon he sent me, and I thought I might get him to trade it for a pair of skates."—Puck. NEW YEAR, yJf A N E W YEAR, and anew beginning, For hands that have wavered and steps that fall New time for toil and new space for winning Tbe guerdon of happiness free to all. New hope for the souls long clouded over With possible sorrows and actual pain New joys for comrade, and friend, and lover, The year is bringing them all again. New days and hours for the patient building Of noble character, pure and true For faith and love, with their radiant gilding To make the temple of life anew. A Happy New Year, and a truce to sadness, Its every moment by God is planned Whatever may come, whether grief or glad ness, Must come aright from a Father's hand. He blessed the old in its dawning—thenceforth His love was true to us all the way. And now in tbe hitherto shines the henceforth. And out of the yesterdays smiles to-day. We would have power in this year to brighten Each lot less blessed and fair than ours The woe to heal and the load to lighten, The waste soul-garden to plant with flowers. May every day be a royal possession To high-born purpose and steadfast aim, And every hour in its swift progression Make life more worthy than when it came. —Mary Bowles, in Golden Days. ALL A MISTAKE. Aud So the Poor Fellow Lost His Christ mas Present. On Christmas morning three or four years ago I started out for a hunt with a Mississippi planter, aud when we had gone about half a mile from the house we came full upon a colored man who had killed a pig weighing about one hundred pounds and was dressing it. lie had no warning of our approach, but exercised wonderful nerve. As soon as we came up he removed his hat, bowed very low and said: "Ktirnel, I war jist comin' up to de house to restore you m.v thanks. "Low me, sail, to say dat I nebberdun depreci ated anything like dis present o* yours." "What present, boy?" "Dis yere pig, salt. I was dun outer meat an' I can't tell you how much''' obleegcd I ar\" is "Look yere, boy!" "Yes, sab." "I don't know you. You are a stranger in this neighborhood. You ran that hog down." "Why, kurnel, how you talk! Doan' you member dat day las' July when you was down to Biloxi?" "No, sir, I wasn't down there in July V* "Ar' it possible! An'you didn't tell me to come heah an' get a shoatChris'mas?" "No, sir!" "Nebber dun tole me nuffin'?"' "No, sir!" "An' dis ar' your pig?" "Yes, sir!" "Wall! Wall! It's mighty quare dat I made sich a mistake. Mebbe it's on 'count of dat tree which fell on my head las' winter. Did you want de pig car'ed up to de house, kurnel?" "I do. Take it direct to the house and then make tracks!" "Suah, kurnel, suah? I'll take it right up an' den hurry right away. Sakes alive, but when dat tree cracked my head all de sense mus her run right WALL! WALL! IT'S MIGHTY QUABE." out! Good-by, kurnel. I'll leab de pig right at de house an' walk right off. No harm, kurnel. All a mistake on my part. Nice pig, kurnel, an' I wish you many returns ob de same!"—Detroit Free Press.