December 23

Today's quotation:

Are you willing to forget what you have done for other people,
and to remember what other people have done for you. . .
to remember the weakness and loneliness of people who are
growing old. . . Are you willing to believe that love is the
strongest thing in the world. . .  stronger than hate, stronger
than evil, stronger than death. . . Then you can keep
Christmas!  But you can never keep it alone.

Henry van Dyke

Today's Meditation:

Henry makes us stop and think here--after all, Christmas is a holiday for us all, isn't it?  And is he saying that there are conditions to keeping Christmas, that we can't expect to be able to do so until we meet certain criteria?  And can he possibly be right?

I believe that the answer to this question depends upon how we see the holiday and what we see as "keeping Christmas."  If we see Christmas as a commercial holiday that's about buying and getting gifts, listening to Christmas songs, and decking the halls with boughs of holly, then there really can be no conditions upon the keeping of Christmas.

But if we see the holiday as a holy day, if we take it to symbolize the coming of love to our planet, the coming of one of the most important people to walk the planet, who taught and modeled love and compassion and our own amazing potential, then there must be more to keeping the holiday in our hearts and spirits than simply participating in the festivities.  There must be more to the spirit of the season than gifts and carols and decorations.

And if there is more to it, then we must acknowledge that the heart of the season is love.  And if we're to keep the season well, then we must be loving human beings, kind and compassionate people who see more to the world than its trappings.  We must believe in the inherent goodness of the people we meet and see, and we must walk and act in the spirit of love all the time.

Yes, there is more to "keeping" Christmas than simply taking part in the festivities.  That's because Christmas is so much more than "just" a holiday.  The question is, do we treat it as such?
  
  

Questions to consider:

How do you "keep" Christmas?

How has Christmas become so incredibly commercialized?  Have we "allowed" this to happen, or was it inevitable?  Is it necessarily bad?

What does Christmas have to do with love?

For further thought:

Best of all, Christmas means a spirit of love, a time when the love of God and the love of our fellow people should prevail over all hatred and bitterness, a time when our thoughts and deeds and the spirit of our lives manifest the presence of God.

George F. McDougall

  
  

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