May These Passages Help Make Your Christmas Merry

EDITORIAL Rockford Register Star, Ill.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) On this holy day, already full with family tradition and religious meaning, it has become the tradition of the Rockford register to offer some of their favorite Christmas passages.

Rockford Register Star, Ill.

The sayings below have reached us through Christmas cards, in past editorials and over the Internet. We add a new one or two every year, but most of them have been published in this space in previous years. Why mess with classics?

Our wish this Christmas is that you like these passages as much as we do.

"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 Savior, 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.'" -- Luke 2:10-12

"Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him." -- Matthew 2:1-2

"I salute you! There is nothing I can give you which you have not; but there is much that, while I cannot give, you can take.

"No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today. Take Heaven.

"No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present instant. Take Peace.

"The gloom of the world is but a shadow: behind it, yet, within our reach, is joy. Take Joy.

"And so, at this Christmas time, I greet you, with the prayer that for you, now and forever, the day breaks and the shadows flee away." -- This quote has been credited to Fra Giovanni. Giovanni, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, was an architect, archaeologist and classical scholar in the late 1500s and early 1600s. Considered a pioneer of the Renaissance, the priest was a member of the Dominican order but later joined the Franciscans.

"Earlier today we heard the Christmas story and what it is about. Enough of that. Now you will hear how to make use of it. So we take up the words of the prophet. The holy prophet sings this song: For to us a child is born, to us a son is given.

"You heard yesterday how this child belongs to us and how we are to receive him in order properly to understand this article of the faith: 'Conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.' We are always to add, 'For us.' For whom was he conceived and born? For whom did he suffer and die? For us, for us, for us! Always add us!" -- An excerpt from a sermon by Martin Luther on Christmas Day, 1531. It was taken from a series of sermons published in 1996 by Word & World, a quarterly journal of theology from the Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn. English words have been added for clarity.

"No matter what our calendars say or how we mark the time, Christmas is the joyful celebration that God's time has come. God's time is now and forever. Christmas is the celebration that each and every day, God is pleased to make a home with us and be born in us, especially when we have the least to offer in return." -- Message by the Rev. Canon Mary C. Sulerud on Christmas Eve 2004, at National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.

"I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year." -- Ebenezer Scrooge, "A Christmas Carol"

"Joy to the world! The Lord is come; Let earth receive her King; Let every heart prepare Him room, and heaven and nature sing, and heaven and nature sing, and heaven, and heaven and nature sing." -- Isaac Watts wrote "Joy to the World" from Psalm 98.

"Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas ... perhaps ... means a little bit more!" -- From "How The Grinch Stole Christmas"

"Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and good will, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas." -- Calvin Coolidge, 30th U.S. president

"I heard the bells on Christmas Day, Their old, familiar carols play, And wild and sweet The words repeat, Of peace on earth, good will to men." -- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, poet, educator, linguist, 1807-1882

"Christmas is here: Winds whistle shrill, Icy and chill, Little care we: Little we fear Weather without, Shelter about The Mahogany Tree." -- William Makepeace Thackeray, "The Mahogany Tree"

"Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful." -- Norman Vincent Peale, U.S. clergyman, 1898-1993

"Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall." -- Larry Wilde, "The Merry Book of Christmas"

"It is Christmas every time you let God love others through you ... yes, it is Christmas every time you smile at your brother and offer him your hand." -- Saint Teresa of Calcutta, 1910-1997

"And so this is Christmas; and what have we done?

"Another year over; a new one just begun;

"And so Happy Christmas; I hope you have fun; "The near and the dear ones; the old and the young." -- John Lennon, "Happy Christmas (War is Over)"

"Ho, ho, but no matter. Christmas was on its way. Lovely, glorious, beautiful Christmas, upon which the entire kid year revolved." -- Ralphie, narrating as adult from "A Christmas Story"

"Strange, isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?" -- Clarence from "It's a Wonderful Life"

"O ye who read this truthful rime "From Flanders, kneel and say: "God speed the time when every day "Shall be as Christmas Day." -- By the Scottish poet Frederick Niven. Author Stanley Weintraub used this poem to close his book, "Silent Night," which described the 1914 Christmas truce on the battlefields of Flanders in World War I. The truce is described on snopes.com: "Soldiers left their trenches, meeting in the middle to shake hands. The first order of business was to bury the dead who had been previously unreachable because of the conflict. Then, they exchanged gifts. Chocolate cake, cognac, postcards, newspapers, tobacco. In a few places, along the trenches, soldiers exchanged rifles for soccer balls and began to play games."

"Tonight we think of the birth of a Little Child in the city of David nineteen and a half centuries ago. In that humble birth God gave his message of love to the world. At this Christmastime the world is distracted by doubt and despair, torn by anger, envy and ill will. But our lesson should still be that same message of love, symbolized by the birth of the Redeemer of the World in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.

"Our hearts are saddened on this Christmas Eve by the suffering and the sacrifice of our brave men and women in Korea. We miss our boys and girls who are out there.

"We still have a long struggle ahead of us before we can reach our goal of peace. In the words of the Bible, the day is not yet here when the bow shall be broken, and the lance cut off, and the chariot burned. But we have faith that day will come.

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