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Reflection: Are You Willing to Keep Christmas?

The merry season comes and goes, and once the decorations are packed up, presents are opened and the celebrations draw to a close, so does the Christmas spirit, and all the love, thoughtfulness, and unity that it brings. But what is it that discourages us from celebrating this joyous feast all year round? This year, with all my kind greetings and wishes, I would like to send you a reminder about something that is better 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 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?

 

Keeping Christmas

Are you willing...

 

...to see that men and women are just as real as you are,
     and try to look behind their faces to their hearts,
hungry for joy?

 

...to own up to the fact 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?

 
 
Keeping Christmas
 

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 desires of little children?

And to remember the weakness and loneliness of people growing old?

 
 
Keeping Christmas

Are you willing...

 

...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 in their hearts to try to understand what those who live in the same home with you really want, without waiting
for them to tell you?

 
Keeping Christmas

Are you willing...

 

...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 with an open gate for your kind feelings ?

 
Keeping 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
        1,900 years ago is the image and brightness
of the Eternal Love?

 

Are you willing to do these things, even for a day?

 
Keeping Christmas

Then you can keep Christmas.

 

And if you can keep it for a day,

why not always?

 

 

Share this reflection with your loved ones to wish them a happy Christmas, this year, and every day...

 

Words by Henry Van Dyke

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