1 John 3:18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
“Bah! Humbug!” scowled Scrooge, the central character in A Christmas Carol. Charles Dickens described the infamous Scrooge as a tight-fisted, squeezing, wrenching, grasping, covetous old sinner! A cold-hearted man who didn’t thaw one degree at Christmas. Scrooge was out to get whatever Scrooge could get and would plow through anyone who stopped him. Scrooge kept Christmas on his terms, which resulted in him growing bitter and cynical to all mankind.
But there is a better way. Keeping Christmas joyfully involves acknowledging that the reason we live might not be for what we can get out of life, but what we can give. It means putting aside our complaints about the world and others and looking for ways to spread kindness and happiness. It’s about considering how to meet the needs of others in their loneliness, vulnerability and pain. And it’s about forgetting how much others fail to love us, but rather reflecting on how much we are expressing our love for them.
Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works.
Keeping Christmas is about doing rather than talking. Loving not just in word, but in deed and truth. Embracing the challenge each day to forget ourselves and remember that there are hurting people in our world who need to experience Christ’s love through our compassionate service. And urging our fellow believers to do the same as the Spirit of God leads.
Romans 12:18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
Keeping Christmas means seeking to understand the people that we live with by, metaphorically speaking, stepping into their shoes and considering what is happening in their world, rather than judging them. We endeavor to seek peaceful relations with one another and give due thought as to what is worth saying and what is not. We wisely choose our battles and those we do enter into, we approach with grace, wisdom and consideration for the other person.
Colossians 3:15 And let the peace of God rule your hearse in, to which ye are also called, in one body; and be ye thankful.
And keeping Christmas is about holding our own troubles in check by remembering with thanks all that we have. Grumbling and complaining is opposed to thankfulness and acceptance of the good gifts God gives us. With a genuine spirit of gratitude and contentment in our hearts, we can share this spirit of grace with others. Keeping Christmas means not being anxious for anything, but instead, reflecting upon the goodness of God, and knowing that He will meet all our needs according to His wonderful power and love towards us.
By Keeping Christmas, we create a garden of goodwill in our hearts. In this garden the beautiful flowers of kindness, goodness, joy, peace, thankfulness, long suffering, patience, faithfulness and self-control abound. They are the plethora of blooms that draw others to Christ. And that brings abundant joy to our Father.
There is no room for how we feel about Keeping Christmas. Keeping Christmas does not depend on our mood, or emotional drift. We must not operate on the stimulation of our hearts. If we do we could end up with a heart full of ugliness and bitterness like Scrooge!
John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
Loving one another is not an option. Not to be done when we feel like it. Not on Sundays only, or every second day. But instead, all day. Every day. So that others will know that we belong to Him. Our life business is to love God. And to love Him by obeying His commandment to love one another.
In the final pages of A Christmas Carol, after his bizarre encounters with the three spirits of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Future, Scrooge knew what path lay straight before him and he joyfully took it. ‘And it yielded him such pleasure and happiness he had never dreamed of.’ Let’s live our lives seizing with joy every opportunity we have to Keep Christmas, and not just at Christmas time, but all year round.
‘Loving Father, thank You for this time of the year where we celebrate Jesus. Help me to keep the generous spirit of Christmas by giving it away this year to others who need to know You. In your Son’s wonderful name. Amen.