By Scott Robertson
I enjoy compiling quotes, poems and other appropriate thoughts for publication around the holidays, as any who read this space regularly have no doubt noticed. This year, in the act of compilation, I’ve noticed how our language about the Christmas holiday has changed through the years. So this week, I’ve gathered quotes and verses from many years ago. See if you don’t agree that they are imbued with a quiet, earnest dignity you rarely find today. Next week we’ll publish a more contemporary lot. Merry Christmas.
How many observe Christ’s birthday! How few his precepts! O! ‘Tis easier to keep holidays than commandments! – Benjamin Franklin
At Christmas play and make good cheer, for Christmas comes but once a year. – Thomas Tusser
To perceive Christmas through its wrapping becomes more difficult with every year. – E.B. White
If someone said on Christmas Eve, “Come see the oxen kneel,” I should go with him in the gloom, hoping it might be so. – Thomas Hardy
Heap on the wood! The wind is chill; but let it whistle as it will. We’ll keep our Christmas merry still! – Sir Walter Scott
I sing the birth was born tonight, the author of both life and light. – Ben Jonson
Calm on the listening ear of night, came Heaven’s melodious strains, where wild Judea stretches far her silver-mantled plains. – Edmund Hamilton Sears
Merry, merry Christmases, friendships, great accumulation of cheerful recollections, affection on Earth and Heaven at last for all of us. – Charles Dickens
Welcome, all wonders in one sight!
Eternity shut in a span!
Summer in winter! Day in Night!
Heaven in Earth and God in Man!
Great little one whose all-embracing birth lifts Earth to Heaven, stoops Heaven to Earth!
– Richard Crenshaw
Oh the shepherds in Judea – do you think the shepherds know how the whole round world is brightened in the ruddy Christmas glow? – Mary Austin