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On Keeping Christmas

Posted By Connie Moody, Wednesday, December 7, 2011

"‘I will HONOR Christmas in my heart, and try to KEEP it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach…'

"Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive forms. His own heart laughed; and that was quite enough for him.

"He had no further intercourse with the Spirits, but lived upon the Total Abstinence Principle, ever afterwards; and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that truly be said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed,

God bless Us, Every One!

Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

The celebration of Christ's birth on December 25th each year has long been debated in Christendom given the historical connections of some traditions and even the date to pagan beliefs and practices. Some also argue that given there is no scriptural admonition to memorialize Christ's birth which was Providentially accomplished in obscurity, we are not called to an annual holiday (holy day). Today, in our politically correct yet spiritually deficient culture, the celebration is declared potentially offensive and has no place in the civil and social spheres. Your position on the practical celebration of Christmas is a matter of conscience.

There is a worthy discussion, however, on the IDEA of KEEPING Christmas, and it is well posed by that classic British author, Mr. Charles Dickens in his children's tale, A Christmas Carol. Most are familiar with the storyline: Mean ol' curmudgeon, Ebenezer Scrooge has a mind-renewing, spiritual experience that causes a deep reflection of his life and the truths of love, peace, and joy which ultimately produces a transformation of character. In this "newness of life,” Scrooge determines two things: to HONOR Christ(mas) in his HEART and to KEEP it everyday. He is evidently so true to his promise that the world takes notice and lives are blessed.

So, what does it mean to HONOR and KEEP Christmas? A study of these words in Webster's 1828 Dictionary will lead you to consider that to HONOR is "[L.] to reverence; to manifest the highest veneration for, in words and actions; to entertain the most exalted thoughts of; to worship; to adore.” To HONOR is largely an INTERNAL determination established in the heart; it is CAUSATIVE. To KEEP is "[Sax.] to practice; to do or perform; to obey; to observe in practice; not to neglect or violate; as, to keep the laws, statutes or commandments of God.” KEEPING is the EXTERNAL EFFECT of HONORING.

Because as Christians we have received the Spirit of Christ, just as Scrooge received the Spirits of Christ(mas) Past, Present, and Future, we have the capacity to HONOR Him first in our hearts and the equipping and strength to do His commandments, to obey His Word—to KEEP everyday as CHRISTmas [Sax. mæssa, holy day or feast].

If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth…
ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you…
He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me:
and he that loveth me shall be loved by my Father, and I will love him,
and will manifest myself to him.

John 14:15-21

Tags:  A Christmas Carol  Cause to Effect  Charles Dickens  Honor  Internal to External  Keep 

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