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Darrell Huckaby - 'God bless us, every one!'

The date at the top of the page is Dec. 25. It's Christmas Day, but you already knew that, didn't you?

Did it creep up on you? Or did it get here long before you were ready for it? I suppose that depends on your perspective and your age, but it is here, nonetheless.

Christmas. The most talked about and most anticipated day of the year.

Charles Dickens' timeless character, Ebenezer Scrooge, called it "a humbug" for most of his adult life, but after Christmas had transformed him "he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge."

I started this improbable journey that has led me and my musings into your collective homes several times a week for most of the past decade on Christmas Day in 1998. Happy anniversary to me.

People with a lot more intelligence and a lot more eloquence than I possess have tried, for centuries, to summarize the magic this day holds for most of us.

Norman Vincent Peale once wrote, "Christmas waves a magic wand over the world and, behold, everything is softer and more beautiful."

I like that and I hope that, if only for today, your world is softer and more beautiful.

Carol Nelson, who is not nearly as widely known as Norman Vincent Peale, once said that "Christmas is a time when you get homesick - even when you are at home."

I know exactly what she meant, because, even though I have been blessed to spend this Christmas at home, surrounded by friends and family, I have had many bouts of nostalgia in which I remembered Christmases past and friends and loved ones who have either quietly drifted away or gone on to their final reward - and even as we make merry today, even if we keep Christmas as well as Ebenezer Scrooge learned to keep it, part of us will yearn for those other Christmases - the ones we can only ponder in our hearts.

I think that is what the aforementioned Dickens was thinking of when he wrote in "The Pickwick Papers" that "Christmas ... can win us back to the delusions of our childish days; that can recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth; that can transport the sailor and the traveler, thousands of miles away, back to his own fireside and his quite home!"

Sometimes we even find ourselves growing "homesick" for Christmases we have never experienced. Few of us who have spent all of our Christmas days here in the American South have ever actually experienced a white Christmas, but that doesn't prevent us from waxing nostalgic over that phenomena when Bing Crosby's classic song is played.

Washington Irving, who gave us Rip Van Winkle, as well as Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman, once wrote "Christmas is the time for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the general flame of charity in your heart."

I sincerely hope that it is warm in your hall this Christmas Day and that you have the peace of God in your heart.

Alexander Smith said that "Christmas is the day that holds all of time together," which may be a little deep if you haven't had enough morning coffee - or had too much eggnog last night, but for Christians, it is the absolute truth. This is the anniversary of the day that changed the course of history - and gave hope to billions of sinners, like me.

And a man named Augustus Rundel wrote "Christmas is a magic blanket that wraps itself about us, that something that is so intangible it is like a fragrance. It may weave a spell of nostalgia. Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer, but it will always be a day of remembrance - a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved."

Now that is a special day, isn't it? "A day in which we think of everything we have ever loved."

I don't know what it would take to make your Christmas merry. I have no knowledge of your hopes, your dreams, your prayers or your desires. Sometimes I am not even certain that I know my own. But my wish for each of you this day is that you will find the peace and hope and joy and love that was promised to the world on that first Christmas Day, so many years ago and so many miles away. It must have been a really special occasion, because it happened more than 2,000 years ago and folks are still talking about it.

Merry Christmas, y'all, and if you will indulge me for one more quote, in the words of another Dickens character, Tiny Tim - "God bless us, every one!"

Darrell Huckaby is a local author and educator. He can be reached at dHuck08@aol.com.