Thursday, 24 December 2009

A Merry and Happy Christmas to all

Christmas Eve... For many of us it conjures happy childhood memories. Memories loaded with excitement and happiness form a time when the world, especially at Christmas, seemed a more magical, happy and safer place.

Each year it seems to be commercialised, diluted and spread out back earlier and earlier. Even so, at it’s heart is that core. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Charles Dickens encapsulates it in his Pickwick Papers when he writes:
“Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childish days; that can recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth; that can transport the sailor and the traveller, thousands of miles away, back to his own fire-side and his quiet home!”

Still for many of us these memories - and the feelings they can still call up, makes us just a little more patient and tolerant at this time of year. A little more generous of spirit, slightly slower to anger.

The celebrations may pre-date Christianity. They always did and still do contain much that has very little, on the face of it, to do with the teachings of Christ. Never-the-less much that is at the core of Christmas as we know it, Christian or Pagan do in a very real sense have at their core the best of “Christian” values.

Values worth having because they generally make life better for all - if we hold to them. That we should hold to, no matter what belief, or philosophy.

So here’s wishing the world - and everyone in it, good cheer and best wishes this Christmas.
As Dickens said:
“I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable 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 really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.”

Here’s a hope that we can try to be like his reformed character Ebenezer Scrooge from A Christmas Carol and carry that spirit of decency with us into the new year when he proclaimed:

"I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year."

Scrooge was better than his word - He did it all... and infinitely more…

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.

…it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge.

May that be truly said of us, and all of us! …God Bless Us, Every One!