We would like to wish every reader of The Judgment of Paris a very Merry Christmas, Frohe Weihnachten, and all the best during the Yuletide season.
In our holiday greeting last year, we posted what is surely the most beautiful Christmas image that has ever been created (an unforgettable C.J. Banks picture of Barbara Brickner), and linked to a pair of fascinating Yule-related essays, which occasional forum contributor Kirsten published on her "Bacchante Files" Web log.
This year, with Victorian Beauty being a running theme over the past several months, we thought it fitting to share two lovely images of Christmas as it was celebrated during the late 19th century--a time when it was still a season of comfort and joy, rather than a casualty of cultural disintegration.
Here we see a Victorian family settling down for a traditional Christmas feast. (Note the young daughter eagerly anticipating her share of the roast.) May each of your family dinners be similarly warm and intimate, and let all of us remember that there was a time--a time not so very long ago--when this image would have represented the rule, not the exception, among holiday celebrations; when most families would have enjoyed comparable harmony and happiness.
And here we see a touching scene of a young girl (perhaps the same angel who shared Christmas feast with her family, in the above image--and one who will surely grow up to be a beautiful plus-size model) visited by St. Nicholas.
The life-affirming ideals that these image represent have not been irrevocably eradicated, replaced forever by the soullessness and relativism of modernity. Like any aesthetic ideals, they can be restored to cultural prominence, even within our own lifetimes, if we only have the will to make this happen, and if we strive for their return with the same resolve that the forces that have suppressed them have demonstrated.
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