Richard L. Evans ponders Christmas in world war-torn 1944 —
Of Christmas — and of Things to Come
Somehow the customary comments about Christmas seem less than fully satisfying this year. True, there is going to be a warmth about it. There always is. No matter what is lacking — notwithstanding vacant chairs, notwithstanding hearts heavy in their loneliness — the spirit of the day, when the eve arrives, moves in, takes over, and permeates all. Time does not dissipate it. Distance is no barrier to the thoughts and feelings that belong to this day.
And yet, this year, some things are different.
Perhaps more gifts are en route to more places this Christmas than ever before.
Perhaps more longing thoughts for the absent, and more prayers, spoken and unspoken, are in the hearts of men this Christmas than ever before.
Perhaps so many men never yearned so fervently for peace, and perhaps so few ever had it.
From the Improvement Era, December 1930 –
Who Sent Santa Claus?
By Grant Allyn Caproni
Illustrated by Nelson White
“Wonder what MacBride will do now, Stell?” asked Walter Goodhue, calling from his comfortable couch to his wife, busy in the kitchen preparing the Sunday dinner. “I hear they’ve listed their place with Roylance’s. No job, taxes due, fifty dollars a month on that house and no gas for that fine new car.”
“I feel terrible about it,” answered Mrs. Goodhue, entering the parlor doorway and looking thoughtfully out across the sparsely settled Sudley Springs Addition.
“I felt right along that they were spreading too much and wanting to show up their neighbors. Last summer Mac got to telling me all about the investments they were carrying with National Thrift, the building and loan societies, three hundred dollars a year on insurance policies and other things. Then he turns suddenly on me and wants to know much insurance I am carrying?”
The New Day
by Hazel K. Todd
Synopsis: Lynn Marlow, a dress designer, who lives in Chicago and is engaged to David Talbot, returns to Springdale, her home town, to visit her Aunt Polly and to find out if she has really forgotten her early love for Johnny Spencer. Johnny had married a Southern girl and she had died, leaving two children. Lynn meets the children, and finally goes to Johnny’s home to see him.
As Lynn watched, Johnny’s face became whiter. His lips moved to say her name, but there was no sound.
She didn’t know when the child slid from her lap. But, presently, she was hugging her father’s legs, and he was resting his hand on her head. But his eyes were still on Lynn, and there were tears in them.
(Andrew and Olive Woolley Kimball were the parents of Spencer W. Kimball, who was five years old when this letterhead was used.)
More questions and answers — links to other parts are at the bottom of this post.
Question: Explain the most effective method of conducting class exercises in the intermediate departments.
Answer: As teachers in the intermediate departments, you should aim to excel. it is you who direct the children when they are most difficult to manage, and when instruction converts them to the Gospel if it ever does. To be easy in discipline, thinking you are governing by love, and to relieve pupils of responsibility by doing the work yourself are common errors in teaching Sunday School classes. Children are not slow in detecting your failure, even if self-excused. The socialized recitation, though an old method with a new name, may be your salvation. it was little used when you went to school. The method then in vogue was autocratic. The socialized recitation is essentially democratic. Every one recites, works and takes part in conducting the class. It gives proper incentive for the correct use of a text book. it demands the best kind of preparation of the teacher, who inconspicuously directs the pupils’ activity. It requires skill to use it, of course. Learn all you can about the socialized recitation.
From the Relief Society Magazine, November 1954 –
A Little More Spirit
By Carol Read Flake
Julia Brayner leaned heavily upon the straphanger beside her as the bus swung onto her street. She straightened, not bothering to murmur another apology. She had been leaned against, stepped on, and shoved about for twenty-one blocks. If she could remain vertical for seven more she would never board another bus until next year.
Which wasn’t saying much, she remembered dismally. Next year was only a week and a half away. Her armload of packages shifted perilously, and she forced her aching muscles to redouble their effort. Christmas! She started to sigh in dismay, but was interrupted by a violent lurch forward. As she regained her footing, she felt a sharp object being thrust into her ribs, which she valiantly ignored, although it probably was a gun. She was carrying two of them herself. Plus a bright yellow road grader!
Star of Evening
By Ruth B. Musser
Clear and luminous, calm and white,
Set deep in the soft, dark robe of night,
The Evening Star like a jewel gleams –
Waking old memories, half-dead dreams
Of a Star o’er Bethlehem.
With a cool, sweet breath from realms above
The wind of night fans the Star of love
As it trails a glory through the skies –
A glory such as once filled the eyes
Of Mary at Bethlehem.
Its celestial beauty has humbled me,
The radiant glow of its purity
Has filled my soul with a holy awe –
Like the very Star the Wise Men saw
As they came to Bethlehem.
It sinks in a flame of virgin fire,
Purging my heart of all weak desire,
Stripping my soul and leaving it bare
Of everything but a wordless prayer
To the Babe of Bethlehem.
O God, send thy breath that purifies
To rend the veil from our blinded eyes,
To sweep our minds of their grime and dust,
To cleanse our hearts of their sordid lust;
And light our souls from thy throne afar
That we may be worthy to see thy Star.
From the Relief Society Magazine, December 1969 –
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From the Relief Society Magazine, December 1959 –
The Miracle Mile
By Leola Seely Anderson
You can walk a mile down Wilshire boulevard any night in December and meet a miracle. There is a small but brilliant sign just the other side of one of Hollywood’s big department stores that tells you this is it: The Miracle Mile. You may see only the fabulous glitter of a man-made empire, or you may see a sudden and strange light, as Louisa Devore did, about eight o’clock on the night of December 23d as she walked the Miracle Mile with her daughter, Nancy.
Wrapped in furs and bright scarves, they were a striking couple even among the throngs of well-dressed, package-laden people, but though she walked with the measured tread of confidence, Louisa Devore knew panic in her heart. She felt the rapier thrust of icicles in the air swirling in from the ocean, and although the Miracle Mile blazed light as day, the sky above was blackly impenetrable.