Christmas Past

Christmas Night, 1929  

 

This holiday letter from the archives of the Ridge Historical Society was written by  Philip and Georgiana Yarrow just two months after the most devastating stock market crash in U.S. history launched the Great Depression, and yet it is sweet, poignant, and most especially, hopeful. The Yarrows lived near 111th and Longwood Drive, and he was the minister at the Morgan Park Congregational Church:  

 

“We are sitting around the Christmas Tree again. Children grown and gone. Just living over again tonight the days when Childhood’s Christmas joys brought to our hearts delights, immeasurably sweet and deep.

What a possession a child is, humbling, inspiring, strengthening, ennobling. Now we miss the children which this Christmas Tree symbolizes tonight.

They say that it is a waste to cut down this tree. If God took a thousand years to grow our tree, this tree is worth all His labor. Once growing on a hillside, now more alive than ever in our home.

See that old stuffed Santa Claus perched on a top limb? Mother bought that twenty years ago at Field’s. See that little tinsel ship? Mother bought that one Christmas Eve when she rushed out on North Clark Street and spent every cent she had left to make the Children happy. Look at all those balloons and globes, red and yellow and blue and green. Did Titian ever paint a lovelier picture? This tree is alive. The sparkle of the tinselled [sic] beauty is telling tonight some marvelous tales of memory when children looked and wondered. Oh, the mystic loveliness of this Christmas Tree!

Getting old and looking backward? Oh, no! Just the musing of a moment. We look forward with our dear friends to a greater tomorrow and would pray that together with you we may enter a New Year with hearts aglow with richer hope. The sands of time sink slowly but life with God under the guiding light of his son, Jesus Christ, becomes year by year higher, fuller, finer and more joyous.

Look, the logs in our hearth are blazing tonight with a strange brilliance! The Tree tells of yesterday. The hearth speaks of the joy we have in the warmth of friendships today and tomorrow. To our friends of all faiths, as we sit in the radiance of the Christmas Tree and the glow of the friendly hearth, a Happy New Year.

Philip Yarrow
Georgiana Yarrow