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Stille Nacht

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Published : December 10th, 2019
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"Let the children have their night of fun and laughter. Let the gifts of Father Christmas delight their play. Let us grown-ups share to the full in their unstinted pleasures before we turn again to the stern task and the formidable years that lie before us, resolved that, by our sacrifice and daring, these same children shall not be robbed of their inheritance or denied their right to live in a free and decent world. And so, in God’s mercy, a happy Christmas to you all."

Winston Churchill, Christmas radio address, December 1941

"Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings."

William Arthur Ward

Music and a thought on a rainy, dreary day, with a good book, a crackling fireplace, and a gently snoring little Dolly.

Although I had written this below in happier times, not knowing what the future would bring, I nevertheless find comfort in it now as then, understand it more fully, and hold it ever more dearly in my heart.

Christmas is more than a time of joy and gift-giving and receiving presents. It is a time to recall our blessings and to gain strength in the grace and bosom of our families.

And above all it is a time to remember that greatest, almost incomprehensible gift in all history, how our Lord made himself as us, and as we are of him, and came to us in the flesh, the incarnation of selfless love.

And thereby those of us who are no longer present in body at the Christmas hearth may still be there in spirit with us, as we will some day be with them. Not bound up in crippling self-pity, not immobilized by faceless fear, not fleeting as a merely morose remembrance, but to be there vitally in our lives as our good angels, reminding us that the Christmas spirit is to be found in 'active usefulness, perseverance, cheerful discharge of duty, kindness and forbearance.' This is how we may not only honor and cherish their memory, but actually live again in love with them.

What greater gift could we possibly desire to receive, than the ability to do good, to persevere in love, and to thereby live in the love of those for whom we care and who care for us, always? That gift is there, if only we will not shut the door of our hearts, and be open to it. It is not always easy, because love is too often clumsy, and turns back on us when we serve it out of selfish expectations. But if we serve it in its true Christmas spirit, for the right reasons, then it will light a fire in our hearts.

In the end this is the only real tragedy, when out of fear mostly, or pride, or feelings of disappointment we harden our hearts, and destroy our selves while thinking to preserve them, pinned to boards like dead specimens in our own dark rooms of selfishness, unrecalled at the hearths of even friends and family.

Christmas is a time of life, remembrance, forgiveness, tolerance, and love. And so may God bless us, everyone!

Jesse, 16 December 2015

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