Christmas atmosphere and creed

We must make it clear, then, to those that feel the Nativity as an atmosphere and not a creed that this may at least be demanded of them — that they have the atmosphere. It is quite true that Dickens and the men of a manlier England would have said that they praised the spirit of Christmas and not the letter. But when they praised the spirit, they had it. It was the unmistakable old festivity of Dryden or Chaucer; it smelt and tasted of Christendom. Dickens would have made no doctrinal limitations in it; but there were intrinsic limitations in the nature of the thing. . . We must at least keep either the body or the soul of Christmas; either the central doctrine or else the exact physical observances. If we do not keep either one or the other, it is utterly idle to talk about a Higher Christmas or a New Christmas or an Improved Christmas; there is no sense in using the title at all when no vestige of the thing is left. We must simply say to ourselves, as cheerfully as we may, that there is one colour or smell or virtue the less in the universe.

The Illustrated London News (7 January 1911).

Published in: on December 28, 2011 at 1:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

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