Harpers Vertes Dec,1943

Long before there was Cyber Monday there was the more direct World War II, presenting, among other things, a weighty Christmas shopping dilemma. Wrapped up in the glorious Christmas shopping number seen above, we bring to you here (with its surreal Christmas tree by by that same Marcel Vertes who oversaw the visuals and won a couple of Oscars in connection with John Huston’s film, Moulin Rouge [1952]), a true feast of struggle to make merry at death’s door.

In this season when designer Tom Ford has cropped up in the capacity of an auteur, with his Nocturnal Animals, the many forerunners in our pages here, of inflected celebration, give us their own incisive take on the nocturnal.


img_4092   Amidst our bouquet of snapshots pretty much speaking for themselves, the publication finds–in an excerpt of a Christmas letter attributed to Fra Giovanni, written in 1513 to a friend–a gem right for the occasion and right forever.

“There is nothing I can give you which you have not got; but there is much– very much, that, while I cannot give it, you can take. No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today… No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instant… There is radiance and glory in the darkness, could we but see… Life is so generous a giver… Remove the covering and you will find beneath it a living splendor, woven of love, by wisdom, with power… the gift is there, and the wonder of an overshadowing Presence… Life is full of meaning and purpose– so full of beauty beneath its covering that you will find Earth but cloaks your Heaven. Courage then to claim it; that is all! But courage you have; and the knowledge that we are pilgrims together, wending through unknown country, home. And so, at this Christmas time, I greet you. Not quite as the world sends greetings, but with profound Esteem and with the prayer that for you now and forever, the day breaks and the shadows flee away.”




“There is radiance and glory in the darkness…”





“… unless our hearts find rest in it today…”




“… there is much– very much that, while I cannot give it, you can take…”




“Life is so generous a giver… woven of love, by wisdom, with power…”




“There is radiance and glory in the darkness…”





“There is radiance and glory in the darkness…”




“…so full of beauty…”


“… so full of beauty…”

inside front cover

“…so full of beauty…”


“…so full of beauty…”


“…so full of beauty…”

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