The Feast of St. Friend – Arnold Bennett

Podcast Excerpt: Then on Christmas day itself one will feel that one really has something to celebrate. The festival becomes a public culmination of your daily practice of sympathizing with others. You will not be reminded by Christmas of goodwill, because the enterprise of imaginative sympathy has been your daily affair throughout the year. Christmas provides you with an opportunity to take satisfaction in the success of your enterprise and renew your enthusiasm to correct its failures.

The symbolism of Christmas, at the turn of the year, thus will develop added meaning for you, and all the Christmas customs, some of which produce annoyance among the unsentimental, will be accepted with indulgence, even with eagerness, because their symbolism is now shown in a clearer light. Christmas becomes as personal as a birthday. One eats and drinks to excess, not because it is the custom to eat and drink to excess, but from sheer effervescent faith in an idea.

As we sit with our friends or family, embracing them in the privacy of our heart, permeated by a sympathetic understanding of our shared adventure on this planet hurling through space, and feeling reassured that companionship and mutual understanding alone make the adventure worthwhile—we see in a flash that Christmas, whatever else it may be, is and must be the Feast of St. Friend, a day that stands supreme among the days of the year.

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