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Rockford, Illinois
December 22, 1961     The Observer
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December 22, 1961

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PAGE 6A THE OBSERVER FRIDAY, DECEMBER 22, 1961 Story of a San By KAY BOWE Christmas is very much a chil- dren's festival and of all the peo- ple and customs that go toward making it so the greatest from their point of view is Santa Claus. It is disheartening, therefore, to find that Santa Claus has fallen prey to the present rampant com- mercialization of the observance of the birth of Christ. Today, from all we can see, Santa Claus has largely supplanted the Babe of Bethlehem. Isn't it true that if someone would ask you what symbol of Christmas do you most remember, you would probably tell them San- ta Claus? The jolly elf in the red suit and white cotton whiskers, giving away presents, stands out as the main attraction. The Only Reason Yet, the one important symbol of Christmas is the Nativity. Christmas started with a cradle gels and shepherds, wmemen on the Ctu'ist Child. Every present camels, could be told every Christ [left in the stocking hung by the mat time to the children insteadlfireplace is hut a symbol and ol the present Santa Claus tale ] memento of Him who was given us which beguiles them. by God as a gift. Santa Claus has been a part of[ Realizing Santa's role in this the Christmas season for so long, proper focus, we ought not to be though, that he is part of the ad- troubled by the morality of per- venture of Christmas -- an event petuating his custom. so memorable to all children that How did this creature with the much of the happy enchantment big heart come into our lives and of the day would be missing with- grow to such popularity? . out him. Came From Holland A New York professor is gener- ally given eredit for molding the Santa Claus we know. Before he took hold and gave Santa his rotund figure, elfish humor, mer- ry eyes, apple-cheeks, jolly dis- position that all children instinc- tively love, the patron of Christ- mas bounties was St. Nicholas, a 4th century Bishop who won the hearts of all by his anonymous gifts, especially to the young. Ex- cept for his benevolence the leg- cal verses, written during an hour of reverie, set the pattern and, as a result, Santa Claus for well over one htmdred years has looked ex- actly .like Santa Claus and no one else. The miraculous molding of the universal figure took place on Dec. 24, 1822, in a gracious three-story house on West 23rd Street in New York City. The house, of course, has long since been replaced by a towering apartment building; but a brown stone from it, a mark- er in the apartment's court com- memorates the man who turned St. Nicholas into Santa Claus. His name? Clement Clarke Moore, a teacher of oriental languages and father of nine children. After his children were "all safe- ly tucked in their beds: on that eventful Christmas Eve, Profes- sor" Moore sat in his study think- ing over the happenings of the day. During the afternoon he had "amuse the family tomorrow]tions wood-engraver Myron King morning." He began to write: I had made for the Sentinel 'T'was the night before Christ- Moore s poem has snowballed mat'.l[ ~. +h ~,o~. [ until it has spread over the world, Whvu ,~L UI~UUSH ~,L~ ,~U~O~ Not a creature was stirring, translated into almost every lan- Not even a mouse;" ]guage, and into Braille. It has On Christmas Day, Moore read been printed in enough versions the poem to his family, then to suit every taste and pocket- stuffed it away in his desk as of book. Though Moore lived to see no importance. How was he to his image of Santa Claus become know that each succeeding gen- a universal figure, he never re- eration of children would be lit- ceived a penny in royalties for his tening eagerly as their parents poem, and would p,'obably have read the story of the remarkable refused it if it had been offered. visit of St. Nicholas to the Moore home? Indeed, had it not been "for a house guest" present that morning, the poem, which is Moore's one claim to immortality, might never have been heard beyond the Pro- fessor's study. Captivated by the verses, Harriet Butler rescued them from the pigeon-hole where Moore had stuck them and made He had written the jingle sole- ly to entertain his children. Too, he seemed to feel that to have described St. Nicholas as having i"a little round belly, which shook l when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly!" was ~ bit undignified for a college professor and trustee of Columbia University. 'Only In Love' Christmas- From oly Holiday? Hurrying, Scurrying, shopping all day. Happy Holiday greetings to all on the way. Packages, Bundles) tucked under each arm. Be sure to get holly and go out to the farm. Every door boasts a bright holly wreath. Or Christmas tree lights blink out to the street. Candy Canes held tight by a child. The scent of spice cookies comes oh so mild. Then from the attic a box is drawn out. The manger scene we forgot all about. Placed under the tree, almost unseen, Hidden among all the bright red and green. What about do the carolers sing? Santa or the newborn Christ, the King? Has Christmas changed so much this way From a holy to only a holiday? Mary Jane Logli Boylan high school Rockford--Grade 10 In a little hut, on a little hill, Lived a poor tailor's family whose son was ill, They lived near the town of Bethlehem, And their son was known as Jacob Kern. It was a cold winter's night, when the parents knelt to pray, That the sickness of their son would soon go away, When all at once the hut grew bright From the radiant beams of an unknown light. There, standing in their little room, Was an angel holding a golden loom, The parents were struck with awful fear, But little Kern crept close m hear. Then unto Kem's father a secr~ was told, That he must weave with the loom of gold Warm clothes, to protect a lib fie boy babe, That was lying in a manger in a near-by cave. At dawn the whole family m'. rived at the manger, To give the clothes to the new- born stranger, Little Kern presented the clothel so coarse, To the Babe who cured him with a miraculous forco. Carol Santoro St. Patrick school Rockford--Grade g Shepherd's Gift To Christ After the beautiful creatures appeared to the shepherds, there! was a great bit of scurrying a- round The shepherds spoke to- gether excitedly and then one of them stooped down and scooped me up under his arm. He and a few of the other shepherds set off down the road at a fast pace. I can tell you it wasn't very comfortable under that huge shep- herd's arm, so I squirmed around as much as possible. Finally, we walked down into a small basin and into a strange wooden building. Suddenly the shepherd fell down on his knees and I was jounced around some more Snowbound Country Town The village wrapped in stillness With winter's fond caress, The snowy scene before nD, eyes, A mute happiness. The snowbanks in the valley, Forever still and drifting, The peace of mind they offer In their endless shifting. The tree tucked in a mowbank, nearly 2,000 years ago. There is a Christmas only because there is a Christ and there is a Mass. Symbol Of Christ Without this deepest dimension in Let's not boycott Santa Claus, Christmas the holiday becomes because of a pressurized attrac- little more than a pagan rite - tion to him. Instead let's bring an excuse for excessive social- him to the children in such a spirit bility, an orgy of merchandising, that all taint of commercialism is Christmas should be a holy ad- mfilified. Make him appear to the ~' venture, youngsters what he really is, the Lots of Catholics and Protest- spirit of goodness -- loving and ants think that Christmas would generous enough to give away have a more significant meanir/g[presents on the birthday of our for children, and for adults too, [Saviour. V f ff Santa Claus ~ ould be taken[ The whole idea o. Santa's pack away from the season's celebra- filled with all the treasures longed finns. Then the age-old story all for has its real origin in the most the B'abe in the Manger, the an-[generous gift ever given to man-- In the 139 years since Clement I Then the shepherd lifted me The icicles hanging down, endary St. Nicholas bears no re- been shopping for a turkey and a copy of them to take home to Clarke Moore's imagination saw Little bell silver bell up and I looked into the face of The overwhelming pacified look semblance to the cheerful giver trimmings to fill a basket for a Troy, N.Y. The.following Fall, un- who nowadays ties eight tiny rein- poor family of the neighborhood, known to Moore and with no nameracing across a New York star- Why Is your voice so'sad? I the most beautiful Baby I had Of a snowbound country town, lit sky, a tiny sleigh heaped with You sa- that man's for"otten ever seen. Standmg nearby, look- Fay Faivre c[eer to chimneys on Christmas[On his errand ha ran into old Jan attached, Miss Butler mailed the toys and'drawn by a team of :' s Eve. ]Dnyckinck, handyman at the verses to the editor of the Troy -:-t lug proudly at the Chdd was a Newman high school ki St. Nicholas came to our shoresI Moore household. Jan, always a Sentinel, Orville Halley. reindeer, no one has ever meas- A i e ~now i ~ d lovely woman and a nd man with the original Dutch settlers, I talkative fellow, full of legends ured the influence his poem has a m s, w z,s ua . The shepherd stud," "Welcome," and like many auother imigrant] about his native Holland, chatted had in bringing about the present L:*-- ~-^- ~:) ,*.- ~--- Creator of us all, here is a gift has changed quite a bit with theI this Christmas Eve about Sinter secularization of the charitable 7'~"~ "='.', ~')~^~," Y~.:" ~ for You. It is not much, but it passing years In pioneeringI Klass -- as. the Dutch call St, St. Nicholas. Certainly, the build- xou say mat ~nns~ s Oll~n is all I have" times, he was tall, thin, serious, Nicholas, ',up industry has given Santa Claus draws near? l l wonaereu'what he" meant, but i has largely taken away the true ' now I reahze -- the gift he was evanescent. A man without much Captures hnprcssmnsl But men in thelr [orgetfu nest ignore Him and Hm Mother form or substance. He traveled As Moore listened to Jan, he spirit of the real St. Nicholas. But Dear talking about was I. Oh, how with a little concerted effort on lucky I am to be chosen as a gift about on foot, or on a white horse, thought: "Should St. Nicholas~ ova" part perhaps we could change or in a wagon; and his symbol come tonight he would sva'ely be for my Creator! was three bags of gold -- be: like Jau, chubby, rosy-cheeked, I him back into the holy bishop that Little bell, silver nell, e Gall Hoppe he was. You seem very wine to m . St. Peter and Paul school lieved to be his present to three with a twinkle in .his eyes and a young girls in need of money, long white beard " Santa made 'his public debut All children -- and all the young Tell me what the world looks Cary -- Grade $ Usually, St. Nicholas was ac- of heart -- love Santa Claus. like. Perhaps because the Dutch- on Dec. 23, 1823, in the Sentinel. Moore without malice robbed Tell me what you see. ?e?:a;IMo nisnl~s dr un~,s ~Y:~a:a~ man's yarns had stimulated his Holley furnished the title, A Visit him of his episcopal office But H(~I~I' . ', ' imagination Moore's mind began From St Nicholas He also made h~ ~ o rn ~ lonao.t Yn. ~av vnu see our sinfulness ~ "" afsll~Cs'ievet hUeSr ct%'cakriegs.aHae wJ:: to dance ?!th pictures of ehil-thm comment: " w'~ith go'~'o'~nes"~?~o ';e "sure/eve"; In~naki'ng-Christmas this way. How eome the Baby Jesus a va-ue sort of fi-ure an"thin'* oren, oI ~=nrmtmas, oi Jan, as ne "We do not know to whom we the real St Nicholas has no di- You say we must act spiritually Has an bed like mine? ~,a ~ t. in r . :=: sat before the fireplace at the rectc " " " i a " ~!! ~./~~:~t a chlld~ m~ht mcture~ him-- to ~be s " are mdebted for this desermtmnonnection" w~th thetrue In celebratmg th s d y. Ifow come lie looks so warm. '""L ~. z""~; /R~~w~ '~llr/ ~)~l,~~ ~:: ivHracmous--"": ~vmmmg ena r mat nay' -~ n ne ~et~ an of the unwearied natron of "chil eelebrati n f Christmas -- the. r . ~, Why does the big star shine? met or'"~ ,~ . urg, e to capture hm )mpz~essmnso. dren that homely bat delightful birth of Christ -- but he does]Little bell silver bell .- sag ,- . :.i:i ',~nen -- a ut!te set oI tlonsensl- They Will, ~vm ore m m nlms e~t, personification of parental kind- testify to the inspiration his sym- Help me to change this thing. He doesn't look unhappy, re.ace on .~arth, ,' i: I nest -- Santa Claus, his costume bolism evokes -- that the good Throw out your voice to tell the His pretty Mother looks so kind. " ancl know the true f~ ~ ,~ Jk I and his equipage, as he goes about that is in man has not been lost. I world They know Saint Joseph will joy of Christmas. II~lCel~l~A. )~'~ Our sincere ,~reetin,~s I visiting the firesides of his happy Again and again, as Moore's[ Throw out your voice and ring. take cexe of them, I/'~UILIC/'~ILISIP ~I[~,CA~II~O j ~ ~,u,I land laden with Christmas boun- "St. Nick" drives out of sight Heidi Baisch That's why they don't seem toj~/rllll~l~ll ~t i aslraalnonal as nail ~ mind ,~ Y I ties; but from whomever it may exclaiming: "Happy Christmas toI Boylan high school " nR.r, Tna$ /~~ convey our very I have come, we give thanks for all and to all a good night,' theI Rockford--Grade 10 Charles Stiles w ~ best w,shes for o ~t ' ver 117 $ Balava Ave Balavu ",~'~' ~~~ " J y I . y young, and the very old, an-I St James school " " : " h,o all not help but be reminded that " Rockford--Grade 1 :'none ~K y-~,ma ~~]~'~ and app'ness t I Reader reaction to A Visit From I Reflechon m . St Nic la was rem only in love is there peace and .~*~v~:~ m our fr,ends and patrons. I ha s t endous. . ] Christmas is ver-- nice with all' good will Y ~','~ / "~ I There came an avalanche of re- . I the gifts and things, but let us t ~,~.a~[~ ~.--I~. '~' I " g" ,~'~'~ r.Ile* I quests tar the name and news of Ni~c~ ~asn se[:g~i~ ~IR~ G~)~D~NIgO back for moment to the fimel LAWRENCE BROTHERS, PI PK PT I the author and for permissionto BALLS by Anne Heagney on page S[,~f th~ h;,thA f T M~vv[~t~~L~~l~[~b[[.~[.~,'~L~'.~b~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~- lmlWlll llllllll/V . I ' ~' of this supplement) iw ~ ~ ~=~. #,q[ Sterling Illinois Sterlin- Illinois ' I reprint the verses: l~ was l~z~, land Joseph, after a weary journey[~ ~ ~ -. . u, I mougn, oemre rams ~suuer es- )-^r- '--: "~ t" find a -'lace inI~ ~ ~.~/* -~" ~ tablished Moore's authorship And /~ I-i D I ~ 7= [w~ .v, ~,aj~ ifter muchesearch l e~ '~11~ ~l~lr~ ~ ~' - " . ~ I #Ix ,~ I wmcn to s~ay. -~ /#,~. 1844, according to Jo Chamberhn,[ were able to find shelter !- A"q~"d~ll~/~'" ~'~ M ' " ' rag, mey i ~ one of nares biographers, be-Come " tin a stable i~ ~'~/l May the Star of [ ~ ~ fore Moore himself included the) Honor t : tha~ "esus was r~ - ~'! I "~ I ~rl F# U Washere [o h'n /,~, ./ ~. ~ poem m one of his own books,[ ~,;~. u~ I~rn~ w-o here that wise meni~ lrl C "~ I Bethlehem s ) ~ ~ ~.~~'[ -'~ ~ tw~!h a hal!:apologet~c mtroductmn I Is the I came bearing gifts. The stable [~J ~ / ~ in youw heart and .~ ,"- A/. ~//) I 2:: ~ ~emnuing a goo~, honest, heartyI . ] was the beginning of Jesus' life I~ I l~" ~ . . ~: ) ~" ~ - ~laugn wmch conceals no malice bavmur inspire you anew Received Not A Penny ] Triumphant IHe led many. people to heaven, with its promise ~) ~ ~.::;~+~ " ~ Oddly enough, although writtenS~nttS:~l~kerchool R?n~':triCc~reYhooli~ ~E--~g~ of Peace on Eorth. ,~, ~]~=~-;[:2~J~ ~ i for children, A Visit From St.I I -" ' . - I~ J',~-~ i~, ~v,a~ J~ ~ [Nicholas didn't be"in to a"~ear Rockford--Grade 8 I t~oe~ora---~raae o ,F+ PIJ I ~ ~[in school books until the 1850's;1~ ~ Merry Christmas I i [but by that time Santa's face andtl . figure were well known because i * ! l/of the widely circulated illustra I * Merry eh~tmas .l! Ph,pps Department Stores As on that Silent, ~ 1:1"I I I kiP= + i~ ii " II++ Batavia and Marengo g Ho/y Night of long ago, / ~+ lm~e II~l II ~1~ ~ I ~,h, Thltnh12~ l "%, I13~ V+ Plumbin- and Heal'in- " " " l may the light of the ~ m " + m! I ( )~ ~etree is all amaze w~tn II 8YS WEST FIFTH ST. STERLING ILLINOIS ~1 I~il ~-./ '~ II ~ ' ~ II I11 ~o you for the II ~.J~.O~,~ Christmas Siar shine ~ ~--~-~-~ ~[I 11 II ------'-/ merriest, happiest brightly in your heart, ~1~ ~i~~.~.~i~.-~~f~.~i~i~i~ nOW and always. ~ll Christmas ever- ~ , a truly memorable holiday. . - I ! I.Z .Le . . . Ii1 . .B0STONsafisfncfionSTOREor Batav,a Nat,anal Bank " , Your Money Back Member F.D.I.C. ~ ~ Harvard, Illinois ~ ~ + ~c,~4~.~ ~ ~ ~s ~~' , At this joyous season, WAHL ~~~ ~ ~ ~. w~ t .' .v.r~ 0 ,or i!~!! "~!! "!~i!iII II ~J'~~ ~ E~B ll~t~ ~ each and every one of you. CLIPPER ) ~ ~ V+[b~ ~i s e r ~ ~2: kyo~ ~ u :,'~ ::het ;: 7 r inV: Iwe g:n ;~n, i The ~ Ill~K,~--j~ |l The First National Bank | T k II Not,anal Bank + Mou.t Carroll Not,o l h.k |]| . ' Me~ber of Federal Reserve. System I In Ambo ! Of Sterling Itl of Sterling Y $,er,in, H,ir)o|$ Mem+eroftheFedera'Depo$'f'nsuranceCorp. II (Member F.D.L .) L'~- ~2;=~ Fi" I'~=~) ;; (Member F.DJ.C.) J ,-- ~--~" ~--~" "-- "-- -~--~" "-- "---~---: ~'~: "'"-"--"--" [ ~lWrd~tl~l~t~t~l~t~t~l~l~ ~t~l~l~t~ | v'