Page:Our American Holidays - Christmas.djvu/26

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xii CHRISTMAS

couraging the reunion of families and of friends, provides a wonderful rallying place for early affections. A wholesome and joyous current of religious feeling flows through the entire season to temper its extravagance and regulate its mirth.

"Under the sanctions of religion," writes Hervey,[1] the covenants of the heart are renewed. . . . The lovers of Earth seem to have met together."

Christmas is the birthday of one whose chief contribution to the human heart and mind was his message of boundless, universal love, He brought to the world the greatest thing in the world and that is why the season of his birth has won such an intimate place in our hearts and why its jubilant bells find this echo there:

"Ring out the old, ring in the new,
     Ring, happy bells, across the snow;
     The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

"Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
     For those that here we see no more;
     Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

  1. For a beautiful and extended discussion of the significance of the day, see Hervey's "The Book of Christmas."