Christmas bells ring in family reunions! The rail trains crowded with children coming home. The poultry, fed as never since they were born, stand wondering at the farmer’s generosity. The markets are full of massacred barnyards. The great table will be spread and crowded with two, or three, or four generations. Plant the fork astride the breast bone, and with skillful twitch, that we could never learn, give to all the hungry lookers-on a specimen of holiday anatomy. Mary is disposed to soar, give her the wing. The boy is fond of music, give him the drum stick. The minister is dining with you, give him the parson’s nose. May the joy reach from grandfather, who is so dreadful old he can hardly find the way to his plate, down to the baby in the high chair with one smart pull of the table cloth upsetting the gravy into the cranberry. Send from your table a liberal portion to the table of the poor, some of the white meat as well as the dark, not confining your generosity to gizzards and scraps. Do not, as in some families, keep a plate and chair for those who are dead and gone. Your holiday feast would be but poor fare for them; they are at a better banquet in the skies.
Let the whole land be full of chime and carol. Let bells, silver and brazen, take their sweetest voice, and all the towers of Christendom rain music.
We wish all our friends a merry Christmas. Let them hang up their stockings; and if Santa Claus has any room for us in his sleigh, we will get in and ride down their chimney, upsetting all over the hearth a thousand good wishes.
There never was a time when in all denominations of Christians there was so much attractive sermonizing as to-day. Princeton, and Middletown, and Rochester, and New Brunswick, are sending into the ministry a large number of sharp, earnest, consecrated men. Stupidity, after being regularly ordained, is found to be no more acceptable to the people than before, and the title of Doctorate cannot any longer be substituted for brains. Perhaps, however, there may get to be a surfeit of fine discourses. Indeed, we have so many appliances for making bright and incisive preachers that we do not know but that after a while, when we want a sleepy discourse as an anodyne, we shall have to go to the ends of the earth to find one; and dull sermons may be at a premium, congregations of limited means not being able to afford them at all; and so we shall have to fall back on chloral or morphine.
Are we not, therefore, doing a humanitarian work when we give to congregations some rules by which, if they want it, they may always have poor preaching?