COMMENTARY: Keeping Christmas: A Prescription for A Better World

KEEPING CHRISTMAS: A PRESCRIPTION FOR A BETTER WORLD.

Whether you are a Christian or not, Henry Van Dyke‘s concept of “Keeping Christmas,” written in 1905, is worth reading and following:

It is a good thing to observe Christmas day. The mere making of times and seasons when men agree to stop work and make merry together, is a wise and wholesome custom. It helps one to feel the supremacy of the common life over the individual life. It reminds a man or woman to set their own little watch, now and then, by the great clock of humanity which runs on sun time. But there is a better thing than the observance of Christmas day, and that is, keeping Christmas.

Are you willing to forget what you have done for other people and to remember what others have done for you; to ignore what the world owes you, and to think about what you owe the world; to put your rights in the background, and your duties in the middle distance, and your chances to do a little more than your duty in the foreground; to see that your fellowmen are just as real as you are, and to 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 for even a day? If so, 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 the 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 you waiting for them to tell 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 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? Then you can Keep Christmas.

And if you keep it for a day, why not always?

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

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Comments 5

  1. Pingback: Memo From Michael: Getting the Most Out of Christmas

  2. You may also want to read the lyrics to this song by Avalon:

    Don’t get so busy that you miss
    Giving just a little kiss to the ones you love
    Don’t even wait a little while
    To give them just a little smile, a little is enough

    See how many people are crying
    Some people are dying
    How many people are asking for love

    So don’t save it all for Christmas day
    Find a way to give a little love everyday
    Don’t save it all for Christmas day
    Find a way, ’cause holidays have come and gone
    But love lives on if you give on love

    How could you wait another minute
    A hug is warmer when you’re in it, oh, baby, that’s a fact
    And saying, ‘I love you’s” always better
    Seasons, reasons, they don’t matter, so don’t hold back

    See how many people in this world
    So needful in this world
    ( From: http://www.elyrics.net )
    How many people are praying for love

    So don’t save it all for Christmas day
    Find a way to give a little love everyday
    Don’t save it all for Christmas day
    Find a way, ’cause holidays have come and gone
    But love lives on if you give on, give love

    So let all the children know
    Everywhere that they go
    Their whole life long
    Let them know love

    So don’t save it all for Christmas day
    Find a way to give a little love every day
    Don’t save it all for Christmas day
    Find a way to give a little love to everyone, everyone

    Don’t save it all for Christmas day
    Find a way, ’cause holidays have come and gone
    But love lives on if you give on, we gotta give love
    Give love

    Songwriter(s): Celine Dion
    Copyright: Duffield Music Company Ltd.

  3. I was pondering that same thought today, “why people don’t keep Christmas always.” I will keep Christmas for always, in hope that I may be a reminder of hope to others and because it feels so natural and the right thing to do. Thank you for the fine teachings you have always provides for me.

  4. There is such profound wisdom in the line: “Are you willing…to make a grave for your ugly thoughts, and a garden for your kindly feelings, with the gate open…” When trying to live these words, one is surprised to find out just how large of a cemetery is first needed before tending to that kindly garden.

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