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A Thought For Christmas-Tide

Through an ancient narrative, devoutly and literally accepted by the many, and regarded in a mystical light by the few, the hearts of millions throughout Europe and where-else-soever Europeans have settled, are periodically stirred. With us, the streets become bright with light and color, and amid wreaths of greenery a profusion of articles for use and luxury are everywhere to be seen. Happy gatherings take place in cheerful homes—in the cottages of the poor as in the mansions of the rich; kindly words and still kinder thoughts abound; presents are interchanged between relatives and friends; bells ring out joyous peals, and jubilant anthems of praise and thanksgiving resound from our churches and cathedrals. What is the secret of all this? Hundreds of years ago, in a distant land, a young mother was tenderly watching by a manger, in which lay her new-born babe. In that same land and at the same time, shepherds watching their flocks under the glorious stars of an Eastern sky, in the silence and stillness of the night, saw, it is said, sights wonderful to mortal eyes, heard sounds unusual to mortal ears; saw a multitude of angels and heard their heavenly song. With the literalness of this we are not at present concerned, but are dealing with it as the envelope of the grandest of truths. In the East, the most precious jewels are carried about concealed in mean coverings; unfold and throw aside these, and you find at last a diamond of the first water, or that rare prize, an emerald without a flaw. Just so, a precious truth is often found within miraculous detail. The truth conveyed in "The Angels' Song" is one that we can grasp as spiritual behind its phenomenal surroundings. In the far-off past, some mind saw and announced this truth; the voice of the sage reached to us through the centuries. For this we may well be thankful; would that men could realize his teaching; he has uttered the divinest anthem that poet could imagine; the finest, fullest epitome of religion that saint or sage could know.

Glory to God in the Highest,
And on Earth Peace among men in whom He is well pleased.
—Luke 2:14

Glory to God. Supreme Love and Adoration of the Highest. The "Hidden One"—the "Ammon" of the Egyptian; the "Unknown God" of the Athenian; the "Great First Cause," the Grand Reality that is, as it were, behind Creation, the Source of Life, Light and Love, of the Poet and the Sage.

Peace among men. Brotherly love between man and man; all care and kindness from men to brutes; no unkind thoughts; no petty jealousies and dissensions; no quarrels, domestic or social; no murders, no wars, but each one doing his best (in the highest sense of the word) for himself for the sake of others; his best for his family, for Society, for the World; the strong helping the weak, the weak accepting the help in all love and thankfulness; sovereignly worship by men of a loving Father; Heaven upon Earth. Well is it for us that once a year this grand teaching is rung into our ears. Truly the Song is a Divine one, the outcome of that Divine Love which is the Heart of Creation. Lovingly and thankfully will we cherish in our hearts—earnestly and hopefully will we ponder in our minds the deep teaching of the Song which the Angels sang centuries ago to the shepherds in the fields near Bethlehem.

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Charles John Rowe

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