Keeping Christmas


Romans, xiv, 6: _He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord,_


[From The Spirit of Christmas.]

It is a good thing to observe Christmas day. The mere marking of times

and seasons, when men agree to stop work and make merry together, is a

wise and wholesome custom. It helps one to feel the supremacy of the

common life over the individual life. It reminds
man to set his own

little watch, now and then, by the great clock of humanity which runs on

sun time.

But 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 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; to see that your

fellowmen are just as real as you are, and try to look behind their

faces to their hearts, hungry for joy; to own 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--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 the desires of

little children; to remember the weakness and loneliness of people who

are growing old; 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 house with you really want, without waiting

for them to tell you; 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 for your

kindly feelings, with the gate open--are you willing to do these things

even for a day? Then you can keep 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 nineteen hundred years

ago is the image and brightness of the Eternal Love? Then you can keep


And if you keep it for a day, why not always?

But you can never keep it alone.