Bob Taylor’s 1906 Depiction of Spiritual, Traditional Christmas

During Christmas 1906, Gov. Bob Taylor submitted a depiction to The Comet newspaper, offering his views of what Christmas is all about, from both the spiritual and traditional sides of the holiday:

Bob L. Taylor in One of His More Reflective Poses

“The season of peace and good will joins upon us the command to love one another and this command all mankind cheerfully complies with during the time of cheer and good feeling. A man can love even his successful political opponents at Christmas.

“I love to think of that first Christmas in far off Galilee. I see the lovely maiden mother holding to her heart the Holy Babe, dazzled by the radiant purity of its angel face. The rapture of a young mother when she clasps her first-born to her breast is an ecstasy but little lower than the angels feel as they bow before the throne of the Most High.

“In that first exalted moment, she molds and shapes Him to a high, pure destiny, such as the mind of a man scarcely conceives and triumphantly spanning countless eons of eternity, she hears his name ringing ever louder and clearer through the ages and wraps herself with sublime humanity in the thought that she has given to his Maker's service a man.

“Thus mothers have brooded and dreamed since time began and their pure aspirations and high hope and enduring faith clear the world of sin and baseness. God walks with them in their communings and God's listening ear attends rather their prayers and supplications than to the records of mans' misdeeds.

“His power, which fashioned man in His own image, reaches out to touch our hearts and renew man's allegiance to Him at this blessed Christmas tide. I think He is nearer to us at this time than any other. His thought is manifest in every rock and hill and vale, in every brook and river, which bears upon its bosom crystal temples to His glory.

“The rustle of His wings is in every zephyr; His might is in every tempest. He dwells in the dark pavilion of every storm cloud and the heavens above us teem with His myriads of shining witnesses.

When I was a young man in my teens and twenties, the Christmas season was the brightest of the year. I used to take my fiddle under my arm at evening when the whippoorwill began to sing and the stars began to twinkle and hie me away to the merry makings in the mountains. We always gathered at the happy home of some jolly warmhearted old neighbor who threw open his doors to the young folks for an evening of mirth and pleasure.

“During the candy pulling and the country dance amid peals of laughter and shouts of merriment, we pulled the taffy into golden hanks and the glad hours floated away on silver waves of music that rippled out like mountain brooks from under the bridge of my fiddle.

“When the old-fashioned clock that stood on the floor struck 12, our carnival of candy and kisses and wheeling and whirling in the Old Virginia Reel had reached the high tide of unspeakable bliss and unutterable joy. The moonbeams danced in the air to the melody of the fiddle and the bow.

“The drowsy hills awoke from their slumbers and clattered back in echoes the jangle of the dwindling shoe soles. When the clock struck two, the sound of revelry had died away, the fiddle had fainted with exhaustion, the lovers scattered into dark corners where each Romeo sat and held his sweetheart's hand in silence until the chickens crowed for day and then we went home with the girls in the morning.”