If Old Father Christmass visited my hometown to-day I'm sure he would be reminded of those unhappy Puritan towns, shewing no token of holyday, that he saw during the grievous years of rebellion and tyranny in the 17th century. Where I have decanted a fine port, salvaged some (cheaply-bought!) mince tartlets from Waitrose, and put on a modest spray of festive holly, everybody else is busy taking down their decorations and getting back to normal with their false "new year." Public services and shops will operate as normal to-day and the children are all back to school. Surely the Gregorian Kalendar is the greatest single monument to the schismatic nature of the Papacy in modern times?
But I am keeping Christmass. Therefore I wish all my readers every temporal and spiritual blessing on this dearest of feasts.
"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." Luke 2:8-14.