have finally mastered the
meaning of Christmas
Christmas becomes a
way of life.
of brightening other lives, bearing each others' burdens,
others' loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives
with generous gifts
becomes for us the magic of Christmas.
most vivid memories of Christmases past are usually not
of gifts given or
received, but of the spirit of love,
the special warmth of Christmas
the cherished little habits of home. -Lois
good to be children sometimes,
and never better than at Christmas,
its mighty Founder was a child Himself.
Christmas? It is tenderness for the past,
courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow
with blessings rich and eternal, and that every
path may lead to peace. -Agnes M.
Eve was a night of song that wrapped itself about you like a shawl.
But it warmed more than your body. It warmed your heart . . . filled
it, too, with a melody that would last forever.
not alone at all, I thought. I was never
alone at all. And that, of course, is the message of Christmas. We are never alone. Not when
the night is darkest, the wind coldest, the world seemingly most indifferent. For this is still
the time God chooses. -Taylor
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 duties in the middle distance, and your chances to do a little
more than your duty in the foreground; to see that your fellow-people 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.
reminds us we are not alone. We are not unrelated atoms, jouncing
and ricocheting amid aliens, but are a part of something, which holds and
As we struggle with shopping lists and invitations,
compounded by December's bad weather, it is good to be reminded that there
are people in our lives who are worth this aggravation, and people to whom
we are worth the same. Christmas shows us the ties that bind us
together, threads of love and caring, woven in the simplest and strongest
way within the family. -Donald E. Westlake
sometimes think we expect too
much of Christmas Day. We try
to crowd into it the long arrears
of kindliness and humanity of
the whole year. As for me, I like
to take my Christmas a
at a time, all through the year. And thus I drift
along into the
holidays--let them overtake me unexpectedly--waking
fine morning and suddenly saying
"Why this is Christmas Day!" -David
Christmas! The very
word brings joy to
our hearts. No matter how we may dread
the rush, the long Christmas lists for gifts
and cards to be bought and given--when
Christmas Day comes there is still the same
warm feeling we had as children, the same
warmth that enfolds our hearts and our homes.
-Joan Winmill Brown
is for children. But it is for grown-ups, too. Even if
it is a headache, a chore, and nightmare, it is a period of
necessary defrosting of chill and hide-bound hearts.
morning, our joy or our happiness can be at a very high level, not because
of our anticipation of what we might receive but, rather, in anticipation
of watching our loved ones open our gifts to them. In fact, if we're
not careful, we can fail to register sufficient excitement and joy upon
opening the gifts we receive from others. We must remember that they
are happiest at that time and to give them top billing, to stretch their
happiness to its full length. -Earl Nightingale
the most human and kindly of seasons,
as fully penetrated and irradiated
with the feeling of human
brotherhood, which is the essential spirit of
Christianity, as the
month of June with sunshine and the balmy breath of
roses. -George William
me, the spirit of Christmas is about
letting the loving but messy little
rituals become just as important as the solemn
and graceful ones.
It's about making
room for everyone. -Ann
Until one feels the spirit of Christmas, there is no Christmas.
All else is outward display--so much tinsel and decorations.
For it isn't the holly, it isn't the snow.
It isn't the tree not the firelight's glow.
It's the warmth that comes to the hearts of men
when the Christmas spirit returns again.
magic blanket that wraps itself about us,
that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance. It may weave a spell of nostalgia. Christmas may be
a day of feasting, or of prayer, but always it will be a day
of remembrance--a day in which we think of
everything we have ever loved. -Augusta
is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace
and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy,
is to have the real spirit of
so the good news was told to shepherds, to working men who were toiling in
the fields. The coming King would hallow the common work of man, and
in His love and grace all the problems of labour would find a solution.
The Lord of the Christmas-tide throws a halo over common
toil. Even Christian people have not all learnt the significance of
the angels' visit to the lonely shepherds. Some of us can see the
light resting upon a bishop's crosier, but we cannot see the radiance on
the ordinary shepherd's staff. We can discern the hallowedness of a
priest's vocation, but we see no sanctity in the calling of the grocer, or
of the scavenger in the street. We can see the nimbus on the few,
but not on the crowd; on the unusual, but not on the commonplace.
But the very birth-hour of Christianity irradiated the humble doings of
humble people. When the angels went to the shepherds, common work
was encircled with an immortal crown.
-John Henry Jowett
we work so hard at our preparations for Christmas, we often feel
cheated and frustrated when others fail to notice the
results of our efforts. We need to ask ourselves why we are
doing the things we choose to do. If love motivates us--love
for our families, for our neighbors--then we are free
to simply enjoy the actual process of what we do, rather than
requiring the approval and admiration of others for the results of
our labors. -Ellyn
I heard the bells
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth,
good-will to men!
else be lost among the years,
Let us keep Christmas still a shining thing:
Whatever doubts assail us, or what fears,
Let us hold close one day, remembering
Its poignant meaning for the hearts of men.
Let us get back our childlike faith again.
are many things from which I might have derived good, by which
I have not
profited, I dare say," returned the nephew: "Christmas among the
rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it
come round--apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and
anything belonging to it can be apart from that--as a good
time: a kind,
forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know
of, in the long
calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one
open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below
them as if
they were really fellow-passengers to the grave, and not
another race of
creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore,
uncle, though it has never
put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I
believe it has done me good,
and will do me good; and I say,
God bless it!" -Charles Dickens, from A Christmas Carol
Christmastime, children play an essential part in our
celebrations. So much of what we do is intended to please
them--and all the while our hearts keep hearkening back to the
Christmas memories of our own childhoods. On Christmas Eve,
sometimes we can't help but envy our children the stars in their
eyes, especially when our own eyes are dull with exhaustion.
Christmas is so much simpler for a child. Can
we open our tired, adult eyes to that same simplicity?
Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childhood days,
recall to the old the pleasures of their youth, and transport the
travelers back to their own firesides and quiet homes!
The Art of
How can we best keep
Christmas? How can we best defeat the little bit of Scrooge in all
of us and experience the glory of the Great Day?
By sinking the shafts of our
spirits deep beneath the sparkling tinsel of the surface of Christmas and
renewing within us the radiance of the inner meaning of the season.
By following the Star on an
inward journey to Bethlehem to stand again in awe and wonder before the
Babe in a Manger.
By rediscovering the faith
and simplicity of a little child, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.
By being still and listening
to the angels sing within our hearts.
By quietly evaluating our
lives according to the Master's standards as set forth in the Sermon on
By reaffirming the supremacy
of the spirit in our conquest of ourselves.
By rededicating ourselves to
the Master's ideals of Peace, Brotherhood, and Good Will.
By resolving to give
ourselves away to others in love, joy and devotion.
By using the light of
Christmas to guide us through the darkness of the coming year, refusing to
go back to the dim kerosene lamps of the spirit when the brilliant
electricity of Christmas is available to show us the way.
|Christmas is a
reminder that I’m invited to be born again and again in the
shape of my God-given self, born in all the vulnerability of the
Christmas story. It’s a story that’s hard to retrieve in a
culture that commercializes this holy day nearly to death, and in
churches more drawn to triumphalism and ecclesiastical bling than
to the riskiness of the real thing. But the story’s simple
meaning is clear to “beginner’s mind,” a mind I long to
reclaim at age seventy-five.
An infant in a manger is as vulnerable as we get.
What an infant needs is not theological debate but nurturing. The
same is true of all the good words seeded in our souls that cry
out to become embodied in this broken world. If these vulnerable
but powerful parts of ourselves are to find the courage to take on
flesh--to suffer yet survive and thrive, transforming our lives
along with the life of the world--they need the shelter of
For those of us who celebrate Christmas, the best
gift we can give others--whatever their faith or philosophy may
be--is a simple question asked with heartfelt intent: What
good words wait to be born in us, and how can we love one another
in ways that midwife their incarnation?
-Parker J. Palmer
|We expect too
much at Christmas. It's got to be magical. It's got to
go right. Feasting. Fun. The perfect present.
All that anticipation. Take it easy. Love's the thing.
The rest is tinsel. -Pam Brown
Christmas it is easier to see the wonder of things. I am not
sure whether the wonder wells up closer to the surface and things
actually have more of a glory or whether things look the way they
do because we are looking at them with more wonder in our eyes.
Is the wonder in the things, or is it in
us? I would say it is in both. Certainly, things take
on a special wonder at Christmas. With candles at our
tables, with wreaths in our windows, with holly at our doors, with
our houses festooned with colored lights, with the lampposts hung
with fir boughs and bells, with mailbags bulging with greeting
cards, with every shop window a window dresser's triumph, with the
downtown streets alive with noisy, jostling crowds of joyous
people all bent on bringing happiness to others—it is as if at
Christmas God gift wraps [the] world.
Christmas has power to quicken our sense
of wonder because it turns us into children. Children have a
wonderful sense of wonder.
So tonight, before you fall asleep, lie
still for a moment, shut your eyes, and think back to the
Christmas of your childhood. Or better yet, feel for the
wonder in your heart. -James Dillet
really like Christmas Eve. I think I like it even more than
Christmas Day. On Christmas Day, you get to open your
presents and see what you got, but you also know that Christmas is
starting to be over for a year, and by nighttime some of the stuff
you got is already broken. But on Christmas Eve, all the
tree lights are on and carols are playing and people are saying
"Merry Christmas," and everything is about to
happen, but it didn't happen yet. That's the best time of
the year. -Dave Barry, The Shepherd,
the Angel, and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog
us pray that strength and courage abundant be given to all who
work for a world of reason and understanding, that the good that
lies in every person's heart may day by day be magnified, that
people will come to see more clearly not that which divides them,
but that which unites them, that each hour may bring us closer to
a final victory, not of nation over nation, but of people over
their own evils and weaknesses, that the true spirit of this
Christmas season--its joy, its beauty, its hope, and above all its
abiding faith--may live among us, that the blessings of peace be
ours - the peace to build and grow, to live in harmony and
sympathy with others, and to plan for the future with
know it doesn't make sense, but since when is Christmas about
sense, anyway? It is about a child, of long ago and far
away, and it is about the child of now. In you and me.
Waiting behind the door of our hearts for something wonderful to
happen. A child who is impractical, unrealistic,
simple-minded and terribly vulnerable to
|I know that I was deep into a
Christmas longing. It's a longing each of us senses this
time of year--especially when we listen to the child inside of us.
It's a desire to be home, to belong, to find fulfillment, complete
and eternal. Christmas is an invitation to a celebration yet
to happen. On this side of eternity, Christmas is still a
promise. Yes, the Savior has come, and with Him peace on
earth, but the story is not finished. Yes, there is peace in
our hearts, but we long for peace in our
people think about how to have the perfect Christmas, and of
course there's no such thing.
What's a perfect Christmas? Is it
really necessary to build a tree out of 362 cream puffs?
Most of us have one or two things that make us feel Christmas is
perfect, but we may not even have time to ask ourselves what they
For me, it's being reminded to give to
family, to friends, to strangers. But it's also decorating.
I love to decorate the house for Christmas and I always give
myself some extra time so I can do it.
My stepdaughter likes a lot of things,
but especially being able to hang her stocking on our chimney.
For my husband and his brother, it's being able to cook together.
My brother likes the music and midnight
Mass. My sister-in-law likes having all of us together
around a table.
What's the perfect Christmas? It
may be snow. If that's true for you, drive up to the
mountains with your family or friends and get that feeling.
It only takes the one or two things that mean the most to you.
Give yourself those things and then save
your time and energy to enjoy the feeling of Christmas.
There's no such thing as a perfect Christmas unless it's defined
by the one thing that's important to you.
James, Success Is the Quality of Your Journey
Christmas mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss
suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a letter. Give a soft
answer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in word and
deed. Keep a promise. Forgo a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Apologize.
Try to understand. Examine your demands on others. Think first of
someone else. Be kind. Be gentle. Laugh a little more. Express
your gratitude. Welcome a stranger. Gladden the heart of a
child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak
your love, and then speak it again.
-Howard W. Hunter
is the one day of the year that carries real hope and promise for
all humankind. It carries the torch of brotherhood. It
is the one day in the year when most of us grow big of heart and
broad of mind. It is the single day when most of us are as
kind and as thoughtful of others as we know how to be; when most
of us are as gracious and generous as we would like always to be;
when the joy of home is more important than the profits of
the office; when peoples of all races speak cheerfully to each
other when they meet; when high and low wish each other well; and
the one day when even enemies forgive and
forget. -Edgar Guest
me not wrap, stack, box, bag, tie, tag, bundle, seal, keep
Christmas kept is liable to mold.
Let me give Christmas away, unwrapped, by exuberant armfuls.
Let me share, dance, live Christmas unpretentiously, merrily,
responsibly with overflowing hands, tireless steps and sparkling
Christmas given away will stay fresh—even until it comes again.
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