From the desk of Roland Rocchiccioli – 24 December

December 24, 2023 BY

Oh Tannenbaum: In 1840, Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s German consort, brought the Christmas tree to England, and then to the world! Photo: SUPPLIED

Christmas is that time of year when Christians, around the world, gather together to celebrate the birth of the boy child in the manger two-thousand years ago.


IT seems, no matter how often we hear the story of the Star in East leading the Wise Men to the stable in Bethlehem, we never tire of its magic.

As a child, I looked forward, eagerly, to the Christmas Eve tree in the park, followed by the Midnight Mass of the Angels, sung by the immigrant Italian women in the town. For them it was a tangible link to the family and friends they had left behind.

The recent arrival of a friend’s baby into the world set me to thinking about the cycle-of-life, and its great-and-glorious mystery. They say, “a baby born is an old man swindled”. It is a romantic notion of our eternal continuum.

The birth of any child is an expression of hope. Christmas marks the birth of a special child; the beginning of a special hope; and it is this special hope which comes to pass when a child is born.

Shakespeare, in his infinite genius, wrote for Hamlet:

What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason!

How infinite in faculty!

In form, in moving, how express and admirable!

In action how like an angel!

In apprehension how like a god!

The Christmas message is one of hope; of what we could be if we tried. If we remembered, each day of our lives to.

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.

Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.

But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe — no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.

And whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy –

And a joyous Christmas to you all.

Roland can be contacted via [email protected].