Keeping Christmas

Another Christmas is almost here, and if you’re like most people, you’re probably so busy with all that goes into Christmas that you haven’t yet found much time to stop and think about “the reason for the season.” Well, here’s your chance! This issue of Activated is all about putting the meaning and joy back into Christmas.

To get us started, I’m including here excerpts of a piece written nearly 100 years ago by American poet and theologian Henry van Dyke (1852–1933), called “Keeping Christmas.” In it, he asks some provocative questions that are just as relevant today as they were then:

  • 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 other people have done for you?
  • To ignore what the world owes you, and to think what you owe the world?
  • To stoop down and consider the needs and desires of little children?
  • To remember the weakness and loneliness of people who are growing old?
  • To stop asking how much your friends like you, and ask yourself whether you love them enough?
  • To make a grave for your ugly thoughts and a garden for your kindly feelings? …
  • Are you willing to believe that love is the strongest thing in the world—stronger than hate, stronger than death—and that the blessed Life which began in Bethlehem many years ago is the image and brightness of eternal love?
  • Then you can keep Christmas.

On behalf of all of us at Activated, I’d like to wish you a very happy, faith-filled Christmas.