Quotes for
the Journey:

Christmas



We have finally mastered the
meaning of Christmas when
Christmas becomes a way of life.

anon

   
The joy of brightening other lives, bearing each others' burdens, easing each others' loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of Christmas.       -W.C. Jones
   

The 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 worship, the cherished little habits of home.       -Lois Rand

   
It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself.       -Charles Dickens
   

What is 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. Pharo

   

Christmas 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.       -Bess Streeter Aldrich

    

I am 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 Caldwell

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 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.       -Henry van Dyke

   
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 sustains us.
   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
   

I 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 little at a time, all through the year.  And thus I drift along into the holidays--let them overtake me unexpectedly--waking up some fine morning and suddenly saying to myself:  "Why this is Christmas Day!"     -David Grayson

    

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

   

Christmas 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.       -Lenora Mattingly Weber

   
On Christmas 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
    

Christmas is 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 Curtis

   

For 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 Michael

   
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.

Unknown

   

Christmas--that 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 E. Rundel

   

Christmas 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 Christmas.       -Calvin Coolidge

   
And 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
   

When 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 Sanna

     

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

   

Whatever 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.

Grace Noll Crowell

    
"There 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 has come round--apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if 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 consent to 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
   
At 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?       -Ellen Sanna
    

Happy, happy 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!      -Charles Dickens

       

The Art of Keeping Christmas

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 the Mount.

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.

Wilferd A. Peterson

     

   
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 unconditional love.
   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
  
At 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 Freeman
  
I 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
  
  
Let 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 confidence.     -unattributed
  
I 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 joy.     -Robert Fulghum
  
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 world.     -Joni Eareckson Tada
  
Every year 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 are.
     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.     -Jennifer James, Success Is the Quality of Your Journey
   
This 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
  
Christmas 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
  
Let me not wrap, stack, box, bag, tie, tag, bundle, seal, keep Christmas.
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 eyes.
Christmas given away will stay fresh—even until it comes again.

Linda Felver
  

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