Monday, December 27, 2010

On Keeping Christmas

The family hasn't left yet, so I'm checking in with a quick hello to tell you that our gang had a GREAT Christmas together. Hope all of you who celebrate the holiday did it up right and made all your holiday wishes come true. (Or at least, the most important ones!)

Of course, the trick is to keep this warm, peaceful spirit all year long, right? It can't be easy, but maybe it could be done, if we really got serious about it. Here is the question I'm asking myself in the wake of all the good feeling. Do I really want to keep Christmas in my heart and hold onto it all year long?

Henry Von Dyke offered this litmus test of intent: “Are you willing to forget what you have done for other people and to remember what other people have done for you; to ignore what the world owes you and to think what you owe the world; to put your rights in the background and your duty in the foreground; to see that your fellowmen are just as real as you are and try to look behind their faces to their hearts, hungry for joy; to own that probably the only good reason for your existence is not what you are going to get out of life but what you are going to give to life; to close your book of complaints against the management of the universe and look around you for a place where you can sow a few seeds of happiness?...Are you willing to do these things, even for a day? Then you can keep Christmas.

"Are you willing to stoop down and consider the needs and the desires of little children; to remember the weakness and loneliness of people who are growing old; to stop asking how much your friends love you and ask yourself whether you love them enough; to bear in mind the things that other people have to bear on their hearts; to try to understand what those who live in the same house with you really want without waiting for them to tell you; to trim your lamp so that it will give more light and less smoke, and to carry it in front so that your shadow will fall behind you; to make a grave for your ugly thoughts and a garden for your kindly feelings, with the gate open?...Are you willing to do these things, even for a day? Then you can keep Christmas.

"Are you willing to believe that love is the strongest thing in the world?… stronger than hate?...stronger than evil?…stronger than death?...And that the blessed life which began in Bethlehem two thousand years ago is the image and brightness of the eternal love? Then you can keep Christmas. And if you keep it for a day, why not always?"

Accomplishing ALL of these things would definitely be biting off more than I can chew, but I will try to focus on a few of these things with my New Year's goals later this week. I'd really like to be able to feel more of the Christmas spirit throughout the year.

After all, no one likes to be remembered only on his or her birthday!

=)

18 comments:

Grandma Honey said...

What a sweet post and one I needed to read today. I've read that we know how close we are to Christ by how we treat others.

Em said...

I needed that message about forgetting what you've done and remembering what others have done for you. Such a great perspective.

karen said...

That was beautiful - probably more than I can chew, but I can start to nibble a little bit. I really do need to put myself aside more than I do. I seem to manage it for a little while, and then I get sad because its never about me anymore, which is supposed to be the whole point. *sigh* There must be a happy medium SOMEWHERE. I shall continue in the search.

Donna said...

Like the Golden Rule only you said it better!! Thanks for a wonderful post!! Glad you had a good time with the family!

yaya said...

Such good advice and beautiful prose...I'm glad your Christmas was wonderful and I hope your new year brings happiness and health!

Vintagesouthernlife said...

Glad you had a wonderful Christmas with family.
Lots of good advice. I needed this reminder. This is so timely when everyone is thinking of resolutions for the new year.
Have a good week, Annette

Jess said...

I love that you always have just the right thing to say, Sue. I so needed to hear about closing my book of complaints against the management of the universe, and sowing seeds of happiness. I've had that book open far too often lately.

Stef said...

I am so with you! Hubs and I were setting up some goals to do just that, Keep Christ closer throughout the year! Does this mean Christmas music all year round??

Sue said...

Ohhh, I like that idea...Christmas music all year round!

I'll take that under consideration.

;)

Darlene said...

I'm going to try to "Keep Christmas" I'm going to try very hard. The first thing I am going to do is try to get to know all the new people in our ward.

Roger and LeAnn said...

Sue, I loved your post. It would be wonderful to be able to keep all of the things mentioned. Our world would be so wonderful if we could always keep Christmas in our heart; which is really keeping Christ in our heart. I will enjoy pondering on those thoughts.
Thanks, also for the lovely Christmas story. You truely are a great writer. Perhaps you should write another book. I am enjoying your book now.
Love, Hugs, and blessings to you as we approach another new year.
LeAnn

Jackee said...

I'm with you on needing to have the Christmas spirit more all year round. Thanks so much for sharing, Sue! I'm glad you're enjoying your company and holiday cheer!

VK said...

I'm going to "keep Christmas" as best I can starting now.
Thanks.

BECKY said...

Yes, I'm going to try, too! Thanks for a wonderful post, Sue!

Ⓙ @ $ € € ₦$ ₣®☼₥... said...

Can we make this into a tee shirt? A poster? I don't think I've ever read it before and I'm not sure how I could have missed it.

And your last line is beyond brilliant!!!

Dixie Mom said...

I believe! Now I just need to work on closing my book of complaints. ;)
All of these were perfect. I'll need to refer back to it again in about a week. ;)

Jocelyn Christensen said...

Just enjoying your soundtrack today...

Amy said...

That is beautiful! I always watch several versions of A Christmas Carol this time of year, and love how Scrooge ended up keeping Christmas better than anyone ever did, and keeping it all year round. I love Christmas for the fact people are more kind and loving and thoughtful this time of year. How wonderful would this world be if we were all like that all year round? What a perfect way to bring in the new year! I think that is probably one of the best goals I have ever heard.

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