Friday, January 3, 2020

Taking Down the Tree


It’s about time to take down the tree and resume life as normal—if such a word can be used these days. But before doing so, I sat and gazed at it while listening to my all-time favorite Christmas record. (Yes, a record, played on my still functioning turntable and may I say that the analog LP indeed has a warmer sound than the CD and wasn’t that a loss. And the predictable skip in the middle of Good King Wenceslas is part of its charm!) 


This recording features carols from various European countries and almost none that I knew previously but have grown to love. I looked at the liner notes to get a clearer picture of where each song was from and read a lovely introduction that warmed my heart. So here is yet another guest blogger before saying farewell to the season. A lovely piece reminding those that celebrate the holiday of its deeper meaning and feelings beyond fighting the crowds at Macy’s and that the original mission statement of a Christianity worthy of its name is “the restoration and salvation of the world through love, humility and peace.” Would that it were so!

As time passes on and year follow year, Christmas returns again and again—the most joyous holiday which reminds us of the birth of the teacher of love and goodness and peace. It recurs during the period of the Winter Solstice, the time of shortest days and longest nights and it continues, properly speaking, the ancient pagan tradition of the festivities celebrating that turning point in the cosmic arrangement when each year light increases and days become longer. Certain Roman and Slavonic folk festivities and customs of the Winter Solstice have passed into our Christmas festivities and customs.…

Christianity which teaches the restoration and salvation of the world through love, humility and peace experiences its flowering period each year between Christmas Eve and the holiday of the Three Magi when it bursts into its loveliest flowers. Christmas, this mysterious holiday, is a miracle which we bear within us from childhood to our last days. Generation after generation handed down its tradition and deepened its tenderness, preserved its beauty and all the strings of the human heart resound with its joy. It is a holiday full of poetry, child-like joy and memories, it is the enchanting dream of the home, the goal of our wayward wanderings seeking after the safe refuge amidst the family. When the voice of Christmas bells is heard over the silent and sleepy countryside and through the dim twilight of the ending advent period, the feeling of unspeakable longing, bliss and yearning awakens in each of us. It is Christmas Eve, melodies of ancient songs resound in our hearts, peace spreads over the native land, lights are burning and we breathe the warmth of the home. The day is short, the church gravely towers above the snow-covered village, the voice of bells hovers above snowdrifts, the intimately known house breathes coziness, the smell of pine needles fills the room, a lit tree lights up the vista of a lost and suddenly regained paradise of childhood. The moments of this solemn evening evoke memories of past days, gratitude for the ardent happiness of the present moment and joyful hope for the future. 

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