To-morrow is Christmas: the day of days; when the sublime harmonies which nineteen centuries ago sounded on the plains of Bethlehem are echoed in the souls of Christian millions; when the memory of the great Evangel blunts the edge of bitter sorrow; when age drives cankering care away, aud youth beholds a myriad hopeful gleams in the uncertain vistas of the future!
For five years, the South has struggled to heal the wounds of horrid war. The people have worked with dogged energy that they might wrest fortune from the iron teeth of adversity. It is true that the prospect is not as bright as when the summer heats ripened the silvered soil. But the people know their power. Blows and buffets have strengthened their moral fibre. They have learned the sweet uses of allliction. They, feel that, in God’s good time, self-reliance, self-reverence and self-control will give them the crowning victory.
Yet the thronging memories of four years of carnage are not obliterated by the events of five years of peace. In every breast there lingers the remembrance of martyred saints, who, in the flush of manhood or with the snows of winter on their brow, fought and bled under the gleaming banner whose stars have faded from our sight — whose cross we would glucdy bear forever. These knightly soldiers — our comrades, our brothers, fathers, sons — taught the South, by their death, a lesson of endurance and fortitude, of courageous perseverance and unselfish devotion, whose fruit will live whatever else may die.
Cheerfully as we may, then, let us turn to the Christmas merry-making. It is a season of kindness and love; of charity and peace. The poor have a peculiar claim; they depend upon their prosperous neighbors for their Christmas festival. And this is the time when the sinning and the sinned against may pluck the bitterness from their hearts, and forgive as they expect to be forgiven. For them who cherish animosity and nurse their anger, however just it seem, there is no happy Christmas.
Faith in Providence, hope for the future, charity towards all men — these are the Christmas gifts which will, we trust, be found on the morrow in every home in the State.