In past years, it has been the custom of this Web site to wish readers Frohe Weihnachten, in the German fashion, but this year, it seems appropriate to add our voice to the chorus encouraging a renewed use of the "Merry Christmas" greeting, rather than any of the generic and soulless expressions that have replaced it, and are considered more palatable to heritage-hating modernity.
We hope that everyone is enjoying Yuletide cheer among friends and loved ones. Kirsten has posted a number of interesting essays on her Web log concerning the folkloric customs that are associated with Christmastime, including the German figure of the Christkindl, and the Yule tradition out of which the Christmas celebrations evolved.
The last essay puts us in mind of a passage from a tale by the American author H.P. Lovecraft, who begins his short story "The Festival" with the words:
It was the Yuletide, that men call Christmas though they know in their hearts it is older than Bethlehem and Babylon, older than Memphis and mankind. It was the Yuletide, and I had come at last to the ancient sea town where my people had dwelt and kept festival in the elder time when festival was forbidden; where also they had commanded their sons to keep festival once every century, that the memory of primal secrets might not be forgotten. Mine were an old people, and were old even when this land was settled three hundred years before.
Merry Christmas to one and all, as we curl around the hearth and the Yule log, and delight in the timeless beauty that surrounds us.
(Barbara Brickner modelling for C.J. Banks--surely the finest image of the season.)
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