THURSDAY, DECEMBER 21, 1916. CHRISTMAS 1916. Sober Enjoyment and Profitable Reflections.
Here shall the Press the People's right maintain, Unawed by principle and unbribed by gain ; Here patriot Truth her glorious precepts draw, Pledged to Religion, Liberty,and Law.
|~|NCE again it is the pleasant duty of the Fbee Lance to wish the compliments of the season to its readers. Fondly had we hoped, at this time last year, that by Christmas Day 1916. the horrible war, which is now afflicting the world, would have been ended and that the time-honoured' greeting, "Peace on. Earth, Good Will to All Men," would, on this occasion, have been invested with a special and sacred eloquence and significance. Alas, however, such a crowning glory to the dying year as would have been given by the declaration of an honour- , able peace, one which should give guarantee of a good half-century of freedom from the ghastly horrors of war, has not / been vouchsafed us. Nevertheless, we in this country have much, very much, to be thankful for. Thousands of our fellow-countrymen, it is true, have been killed or wounded in their gallant fight for honour and freedom, and few New Zealand homes are there in which, on Christmas Day, saddening thoughts will not enter as the absence of fathers, sons, sweethearts, and relations will be silently and sorrowfully pondered over. To all who have suffered bereavement, to all whose souls have been afflicted, we offer our heartfelt sympathy.
But although so many have drunk deep of the bitter waters of the cup of sorrow, the great mass of the people have indeed good reason for gratitude. New Zealand has been spared the horroru which the unfortunate Belgians. French, Serbians, _ and Armenians have been called upon to witness and endure at the hands of an enemy whose savagery has been so deliberate and so ruthless as inevitably to suggest a demoniacal inspiration and direction. Our cities and towns haven't been bombarded, our old men, women, and children slain in cold blood, or subjected to unmentionable tortures of/ body and soul. Our commerce has progressed with but little serious interruption, trade and industry have prospered exceedingly, money has never been so plentiful—our material welfare, both national and individual, never so great. "We need not enlarge upon this subject, but it is one upon Which, at this, the traditionally festive season of the year, we should specially ponder, not in a spirit of joyous exultation over our good fortune, but rather with quiet, neartfelt thankfulness to,the brave fellows who, on'both land .and sea, are fighting for and protecting our Empire. * * * .»
Let us enjoy our Christmas-tide, iet. - family ties fee renewed, let a, spirit of kindly , tolerance of each other's faults and foibles be abroad, let our hearts he filled with charity and kindliness to . all men. But, underlying all our sobt v enjoyment of the spell from business .and work, there should not fail to be present a determination that the new . year must be one of continued and strengthened national and individual efficiency, and, above all, of quiet, dogged determination that nothing which may occur shall diminish our useful activities in the good cause. 5 the only, cause which, for us, has immediate moment, to wit, the assisting to the full extent of our pqssible ability and endeavour, of the Motherland and the Empire in the great and - awful struggle in which every Briton is now sharing. With this parting , thought we formally wish our readei*s A Happy Cheistmas.