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lul Cara! jffm |l i|(|L SMM r*J HE twenty-fifth of Decera her, rather the week about vf al at t* me as b een cel®* brated for many ages with *”* ! *ißr rejoicing. Long before the J ~* Christian era the pa gan astronomers decided that these were the shortest days before the sun returned to northern lands to bring another spring and seed time and har vest. The dreary winter was at its worst, and the coming days would have longer hours of light and sun shine and the reawakening of na ture. Therefore sing and be joyful. The Egyptians held a festival in honor of the birth of their god Horus. The Romans called It “the birthday of the Invincible sun,” and dedicated It to Bacchus, rejoicing with him that the sun was about to return and revivify the vineyards The Persians held a /estical of uncommon splendor as the birthday of Mithras, the mediator, a spirit of the sun. In the north coun try among the worshipers of Odin it was a nature festival of riotous feast ing, because the fast of winter was approaching its end. It has been a time of universal celebration accord ing to ancient written history since the beginning, and obscure tribes in remote nations have legends of their own about what we call Christmas ;lde the feast of peace and good will. As Christianity brought its blessings to follow the good of past religions, it seems only right that the birth ’of Christ should come at a time of gen eral rejoicing. It made it easier for the pagans to turn to the Saviour of Light, at a time when the returning sunshine in the skies was symbolical of the feeling of brotherly kindness which was taught in the love of a lit tle child. And so as early as the sec ond century the church celebrated Christmas day when the heathen were honoring their gods. Ihe Christmas celebration, as we know it, is but a reincarnation of the Yuletide of the Anglo Saxon tribes. Singing is a proper way to manifest joy. It delights the singer and gives pleasure to others. The churchly car ols were not enough for the hearty feeling. The pagan feasting remains. And so with that divine old carol, ‘Adeste Fidelis,” are convivial songs. Come hither, ye faithful; Triumphantly sing; Come, see the manger. Our Saviour and King! To Bethlehem hasten. With joyous accord! Oh, come ye, come hither. To worship the Lord! The contrast lies in “A Carole Brynging In Ye Bore's Heed.” Capri apri defero. Reddens laudes domino. The Bore’s head in hand bring I, With garlands gay and rosemary; And I pray you all sing merely, Quis estils in convlvio. The church of the early days had some of the wisdom of modern social •ervice. It entertained its parishion ers in a wordly way as well as in stilled religious doctrine. The mys tery, miracle plays and mummeries enacted, under the direction of the clergy rehearsed the seen© in the stable. These plays gave rise to a number of legendary carols. The "Cherry Tree Carol” was popular in London in the last century. B related the story of the Virgin begging Joseph to pluck some cherries for her, and when he rufuslng, the unborn babe speaks and tells his mother to reach out her band and the tree will bow before her, and the carol goes on to say: “Then bespake Joseph, 1 have done Mary wrong,” etc. Another carol of this time la full of beautiful Imagery. “‘As Joseph was a-walk*ng t He heard an angel sing— The night shall be born. Our heavenly king; He neither shall be bom In house nor in hall, Nor in the place of Paradise, But in an ox’s stall,” etc. This Is in the same spirit as our fa anlliar; '"While shepherds watched their docks by night All seated on the ground, 'flue angel of the Lord came down And glory shone around. "Fear not." said he (for mighty dread Had seized their troubled min); "Glad tidings of great joy I bring To you and all mankind.” And who would forget the swing of melody, and the charity taught in “Good King Weneslaus looked forth On the least of Stephen.” He saw the beggar gathering fuel in the snow that lay “round about,” and calls to his servants to bring him robes and w'ine and to fetch the poor man in from the cold. In the rural districts the nature fes tival lived long after the church had taken the feast. There were remains of tree worship and sacrifice to Po mona in Cornwall as last as 150 years ago. The peasants used to go into the orchards on Christmas day with pailfuls of cider and roasted apples. The health of the trees w r as drunk to song, and libations poured upon the roots. In various sections of north ern Europe it is the custom to deco rate trees out of doors. The fir trees as evergreens, and fruit trees for their promises, w r ere trimmed with long streamers of ribbon or paper. The Christmas tree finds its ances tor in the German ash Ygdrasii, a great tree whose top reached to Wal halla, the home of the gods, and whose roots were fast in the earth. The Germans have a wealth of car ols, but nearly all are of a religious nature. “Oh, Tannenbaural Oh, Tannen baura,” or the song of the fir tree at Christmas time, has become world wide. Who could count the house holds that gather around the tapers lighted and the tree loaded with gifts to sing this in unison. In the English household the song' Is: “Gather around the Christmas tree. Ever green has its branches been It is king of all the woodland scene.” Or it may be: “Carol, brothers, carol, Carol joyfully, Carol for the coming of Christ’s na tivity.” The good old custom of singing from house to house on Christmas eve has crept across the water from Eng land to America. It was a part of the program of the season to learn these carols and to gather in bands, going from house to house across the snow and singing before the doors. The neighbors knew they were coming, preparing cakes and warm drinks, and sometimes gifts of money. Whoever has heard “God rest ye, merry gentle men, let nothing ye dismay,” sung heartily in the frosty air has a thrill and an experience that returns to him every Christmas after. And every Christmas morn is awak ened with the stirring strains of “Shout the glad tidings exultingly sing.” But we must not think that England or Germany sing all the carol music. France had a quaint literature of its own. Here Is one of Nowell, or Noel, and from north to south there are delightful variations of It: “ ‘Nowell, nowell, nowell, nowell,’ This is the salutacyon of the angell Gabryell, Tydings true then be cum neu sent frome the trynyte, Be gabryell to nazareth cety of gallle. A dene maydyn and pure virgyn thorow her humylyte, ! Hath conceybyb the person secund in deite.” Pere Noel comes down the chimney and gives gifts just as Father Christ mas does across the channel, and the little French children sing; “Noel, Noel, Noel. Noel singeth clear, Holpen are all folk on earth Born is God’s son so dear.” l. m. McCauley. M Christmas Prayer /V\ GOD, our father, the 11 3 shining stars of the cold December sky remind us again of the patient mother and the rock-hewn manger In lowly Bethlehem where lay cradled thy Eooe for the world. Tn the shadows of the silent stall we stand beside the Child and praise thee for thy best great gift to sinful men. Speak to our souls as we wait. Ect the sweet, looing, trusting spirit of the Child steal into our lives until it calms all weak and anxious fears and soothes all bitterness and pain. Tn willing surrender and holy longing let us take the Christ Child Into our hearts, that hence forth we may Hoe as Be Hoed, love as Be looed, and follow in Bis footsteps, bringing help to the needy, courage to the weak, comfort to the sorrowing, hope to the downcast, and strength and looe to all. Grant that the spirit of looing kindness may so prcoaH among us and among all people that those who know Chee net, shall be gathered into thy fold and kingdom. "OF SUCH IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN" ' .Hi (H 111111111111 Hrig Crown tbe Christ p Child Kins pfff Tliiiiiiimffiß At Christmas time we celebrate the birthday of our King. The wise men came from the far east, attracted by the light of the star, to find and wor ship the King. This blessed day is lighted by a star that ought to at tract our attention and lead us in the same direction and to the same end. This time of music and glad festivities should lay especial emphasis on the kinship of Jesus of Nazareth. It is our privilege to see, in the Babe of Bethlehem, the King of kings and Lord of lords. That vision should be pQore clear to us than to the wise men of old. They had none of the helps that quicken our eyesight. We may remember the life he lived, the | work he did, the sacrifice he made, j and the influence he has exerted and is exerting to this very hour. Never man spake like this man,” concerning God, man, sin, life, death, truth, immortality, and “the vast for ever.” He has drawn the intellect of the world to himself. His ideals have inspired civilizations and turned the currents of history into new channels. He has compelled the world to accept his ideas of greatness and the value of human life. He has drawn the art of the world to him self, for the greatest paintings of the ages reflect his glory. He has drawn the music o; the world to himself, for the mighty masterpieces of this realm tell the story of his work and In fluence. He has drawn the thought of the w orld to himself, for there never w'as one about whom so many books have been written. His life and words have been the inspiration of the modern altruism that is doing so much to lift humanity to higher and better levels. He is rapidly draw ing the heart of the world to himself —is drawing the lives of men to himself. He shall reign, “King of kings and Lord of lords.” Because he humbled himself and made himself of no repu tation, and took on him the form of a servant, and became obedient unto death, even the dea, l h of the cross, therefore God hath highly exalted him and given him a name that is above every name. If we will not crown him Lord of all in our hearts here, we phall yet be called upon to crown him King of eternity. Let us crown the Christ Child our King in the here and now. Keeping Christmas 3oij Christmas Is a day of Joy, but joy should not be allowed to die out of our lives next morning. It should stay with us ever after. We should sing the Christmas songs all the new year. We should carry the peace of God in our hearts continually hereafter. We should learn from this time to find the beauty and the good will in all things, tind to show the world that we believe what we say we believe—that since Bod loves us, and Jesus Christ is our ;riend, “all’s well with the world.” they who receive and tell of God’s anspeakabK, gift of Christ as a Re deemer may carry the gladdest sort of Christmas around with them all the rear in their hearts. Our early da; s will not, indeed, come back; yet is Christmas an Indian sum mer evening to the venerable —a re viving reminiscence of youth. THE PRINCE i OF PEACE By JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL A— U “What means this glory round our feet,” The Magi mused, “more bright than mom ? ” And voices chanted clear and sweet, “Today the Prince of Peace is born.” “What means that star,’ the shepherds said, That brightens through the rocky glen"? And angels, answering overhead, Sang, “Peace on earth, good-will to men.” And they who do their souls no wrong, But keep at eve the faith of mom, Shall daily hear the angel’s song, “Today the Prince of Peace is bom!” ttbe IPaii “When they saw the star luey re joiced with exceeding great joy.” For men in banked cabins in the arc tic snows and men in the wind beaten ships on remote seas, for men in tropic jungles and men in forgotten wastes, this day is Christmas. We who rpend the day In the friendly security of cit ies and draw about us the familiar In timacies of home and daily friendships are apt to forget the wonder of this, and the significance. But whether they realize it or not, men draw together during these hours. And this is to follow the star the wise men saw over Bethlehem. Christmas for most of us is given to the closest of ties and the spirit of U is only a warmer glow of well used af fections. But the deepest and mighti est things are the nearest, and in tha heart of this day is the hope of the race. Two thousand years ago there was one who spoke from a mountain. His message was the brotherhood of all men. Another time he said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. To day men follow the way though thej do not know, and obey the truth though they do not see, and live the life though they are unconscious of its pulse beat through the world. For the way Is the way of the race marching painfully to its far goal. The life of the individual and the lives of nations are borne upon the bosom of a great tide. Wise men call It by different names, but no man lives effectually save in its full cur rent Whether we state it in terms of religion, or of philosophy, or pol icy. its law is but the divine platitude i of the brotherhood of man. The wise man begs to express much more than proverbial wishes that his entire clientele may enjoy the merriest of merry Christmases. y ®NE of the most famous cathedrals in Germany possesses as its most sacred relic the swaddling clothes of the Infant Jesus. T t is a sweet and beautiful i ossession which many visitors come j om afar to venerate. One Christmas eve the sacristan | as arranging the treasure confided to i is care, which was to be exposed to | lew on the great fete of the morrow. I 'he sacristan was a little, hump- i acked man, bandy-legged and red- I osed, and it was to thi* ugly person | hat the privilege was reserved of al- i • ays caring for the adored relic. We | nist not be astonished at this, but i mst reflect that often the moat hum de and unattractive are chosen to be earer the kingdom of heaven. But. nfortunately, the hump-backed sacris an had no idea that he was one of the dect, and the marvelous character of Ids task gave him no extraordinary “motion. During the 20 years that he had snuffed the candles of the cathe -Iral, and been in daily contact with Hie treasure, he had received no en lightenment; he never made the sign of the cross before touching the sa cred linen, and he treated it with the "ame mechanical indifference with Which he had hammered the soles of the boots in his former occupation of cobbler. This day, on opening the cupboard In which the linen of the Infant Jesus was carefully enclosed, he whistled a little dance tune and thought: “Ugh! Jt’s not nice weather outside.” A violent wind w r as blowing In the town. unhooking the signboards of the chops, and making the chimneys shake pn all the pointed roofs. The man, on entering the sacristy, listened to the moaning of tho wind, and thought that the fury of nature did not accord well with the fete for which he was preparing; but doubtless there was a striking symbol In the ptorm, and the unloosed elements tnight calm themselves suddenly when the words of pardon and pity were said: “On earth peace, good will to ward men.” The sacristan went, to put his coarse hand carelessly on the Divine relic, when an unheard-of event happened. The window in the sacristy opened suddenly, pushed by a great rush of wind. The storm entered like an in vasion of the Barbarians; it rushed over all In the room, knocking down the sacred objects, and the linen of the Infant Jesus, taken up in the whirling tempest, was blown out of the window. The hump-back remain ed for a moment stup’d and stricken, then recovering himself, ho rushed Into the hurch, crying: “Saint Joseph! Saint Martin! Help! j-Ielp! They have taken the linen!" At this alarming cry the people ran from all parts. The priests in their Buplices, the beadle In his cap. the Swiss with his halberd, the old women who had been praying, ran with pale faces and terrified eyes, and everyone cried out: “What are you saying? Holy Moth er! what are you saying?” The little hump-back tore to the floor; he seemed stricken with mad ness “The linen! —what misery!—the lin en! By the window! A puff of wind! Hun quickly to catch it again!” Then in the road was sudden tumult! everyone began to run in pursuit of the stolen relic. The noses turned up to the houses resembled notes of interrogation. “There! there!” said someone. “No. no!” They discovered it at last. It was ly /ng close to a crest high up on the roof of the church. One would have said that the fretwork column, chilled with cold, had taken refuge in the sheltering folds. “There it is! there it is!” Every one cried out together. But how were they to reach it? “It’s the sacristan’s duty to go up; It was he who let it go.” The hump back whistled no longer. Suddenly a courageous man came forward He crawled up the columns, he hooked himself to the fretwork, he hung from the projections; after a thousand perils he arrived at the Place and extended his arm to take the linen. But—at this moment, the linen unfurled itself and was blown to a neighboring roof People rushed to catch it; it ■waited until the hands were quite close, then It flew off to the other side of the street. Now began an extraordinary race. From street to street, from roof to roof, the Divine swaddling clothes flew pursued by the crowd What a chase! The priests, red with Indignation, stifling, lifting their arras. ] crying orders, and gesticulating madly. ! The Swiss followed with his useless aalberd The little hump-backed sacris tan ran also as fast as his bandy legs would go And behind came the old women, limping, pitying themselves, and Invoking the name of Mary. The whole town was rapld’.y raised by this great agitation To the mad dened priests and the old devotees wa joined a population running and oxcited Some brought poles, others brought ladders, and some brought crucifixes, or sprigs of blessed box tree. with which they thought they could seize the linen, attracted by this holy magnet. The firemen soon arrived, increa*- if 1 1 l 11 j|j^ ing the disorder of the strident noise with their horns and the galloping of their horses. •But the swaddling-clothes seemed to mock the priests and their exorcisms, the devout with their crucllixes, the firemen with their ladders. Sometimes the linen placed itself at the edge of a cornice and rolled Itself round a chimney. From up there an end of the stuff floated ironically near the crowd, seeming to scoff at it. And when, with difficulty, someone gained the roof, hoping to have caught It — good-by! it would go further yet, with out any respect of person. After an hour of this game, it sud denly went away, and all the crowd could see was a point of white disap pearing on the horizon. In a distant road, aright at the end of the town, in a sordid attic, a wo man was holding a new-born child on her knees. She was contemplating it with a somber tenderness. She cov ered it with kisses, having no other garment to give it than her sad lips. By the gaping window, with cracked framework and broken panes, the cold and the wind came to usher in a Christmas of misery. The newly-born was rigid and white, like a waxen Jesus. My God! my God! had he to die thus, the innocent —had he lived only to suffer tor an hour? The mother got up and moved about the room, si lently, fiercely. Nothing —she could find nothing to protect the little body in all its purity She sat down again; she did not weep: tears are a luxury—even her eyes were parched. Near her there was nothing but wind and cold; they entered, making a clamor like many wooden shoes They pressed close, with their lugubrious and cold faces—bad magicians come to bring to the newly-bom their gifts of agony. Christmas! Christmas? Ah’ that Other that one commiserates, that Child of Bethlehem He at least had straw in his cradle, and the beasts around warmed him with their breath! The mother, who could not cry, clenched her fist to curse Christmas. But her hand fell in the presence of the adorable miracle At the aaning window something white floated! It arrived from nothing ness. It was like a bird which had come to ask for refuge Then softly, the white thing came Into the attic. The mother stared. The swaddling-clothes! And the little naked newly-born wan wrapped in the linen of the little In* fant Jesus Sring the "Star" to Someone He for whom Christmas is named brought the gift of himself to world which had nothing—except faith and love— to give him in return, and which for the most part has not so far been disposed to give him even that. Never theless. he gave it. and there is no genuinely vital Christmas giving which fs not in the same spirit Wo would not for the world discourage the inter change of gifts which come to be cos* tomary at this time in families and be tween friends, where such Interchange is prompted by the heart In spite the sham and the hypocrisy which have come to overlay much of such giving, the custom tends to the devel opment of the higher But this is a reminder that the pleasure ot the getting ready for Christmas al ways great where sincere Impulse 1* made the guide among the shops, can be immensely heightened by a getting ready to make happy some dependent soul which now looks forward to a® brightness in the day Cos All tlie People && He does not simply say. Cbrtst 1* born, but to you he is born; neither does he say. I bring glad tidings, but to you I bring glad tidings of great jov Furthermore, this joy was not t# remain In Christ, but it shall be to aU the people. —Martin Luther.