The Christmas Spirit

No. 62 - 17th December 2017

I’m sure if I were to do a survey of how people would describe the Christmas Spirit, I would get a lot of different answers. Mince pies and mulled wine. Putting up the Christmas decorations. Having the family all together over a turkey dinner. I guess for some, it’s all the free alcohol at the office party. I saw an advert the other day saying “Welcome to the home of Christmas shopping. Presenting an expertly curated Christmas shopping experience where you can uncover the most extraordinary gifts. What more do you want?” Well, a lot more to be honest.

Calvin Coolridge, the 30th President of the United States said that “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 Spirit of Christmas”. I like that. It’s a state of mind that reaches far beyond the Christmas season. I think I would like to add another attribute and that’s a spirit of generosity. When you think about the generosity of God in sending his Son into the world to save the world from its own self inflicted destruction, that’s an attribute I would like to develop in myself. We get a hint of it in the presents we buy for each other, but why limit that to Christmas? Why not be just as free with our giving for the rest of the year?

In Charles Dickens’ novel “A Christmas Carol,” the character Scrooge is led through three stages of revelation. The Ghost of Christmas Past which showed him what he used to be like in happier days. The Ghost of Christmas Present really demonstrated what he had become, and he didn’t like it very much. But when the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come showed him in his grave with all his acquaintances rejoicing at his passing, he couldn’t take any more and set about changing his life. “I will honour Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year” he says. – A generous spirit, peace and goodwill to all, and to be merciful in all my dealings. Isn’t that something worth aiming for? Not just for the Christmas season but throughout the whole year.

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