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!