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April 1, 2023

Christmas Lights in the Sky

The picture above is a full arcing rainbow, portrayed in last week’s Photo of the Week dropping behind vineyards and trees, as if painted by John Constable. Christmas commemorates the birth of Jesus, who claimed to be the light. He asked that people “love one another.” On that first Christmas day, time changed, as did much else.  

Time is demarcated in western culture by that first Christmas day. Dates before Jesus’ birthday are referred to as BC—Before Christ, and afterwards as AD—Anno Domini, meaning “year of the Lord.” Modern references use CE and BCE—Common Era and Before the Common Era, to denote the same demarcation.  

Every Christmas Eve, the Wall Street Journal publishes an editorial written in 1949. That editorial, titled “In Hoc Anno Domini,” was written by Vermont C. Royster—great name, great writer.  His middle initial, “C,” stands for Connecticut.  

For years, I have been sending a link to Royster’s editorial with Christmas cards. It is a special privilege to link it for readers through the Tribune. May the holidays and 2023 be happy, healthy and filled with the light and the wonder of rainbows. Thanks for reading “Photo of the Week” and the Healdsburg Tribune! Thanks to Weeklys for continuing the Tribune’s publishing enterprise, lifting up local stories focused on local life. Merry Christmas and happy holidays, dear readers!  

Fun facts: Vermont Connecticut Royster was born in Raleigh, NC. His great uncles were also all born in North Carolina. His great uncles were named: Arkansas Delaware, Wisconsin Illinois, Oregon Minnesota and Iowa Michigan. 

Vermont Royster graduated UNC Chapel Hill in 1935. In 1936, he started writing for the Wall Street Journal. He joined the U.S. Naval Reserves in 1940, experiencing combat in the Pacific Theater, being one of the first to see Nagasaki after its nuclear destruction. 

Post-World War II, he returned to the Wall Street Journal, becoming its editor from 1946–1971. Writing until 1986, he received two Pulitzer prizes and the Medal of Freedom, which citation reads in part: “his common sense exploded pretensions” and “his compelling eloquence warned of the evils of society loosed from its moorings in faith.”

To join me in appreciating this great work of writing, republished every year since 1949, see the ‘In Hoc Anno Domini’ link:  www.wsj.com/articles/SB123008054671531917.


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