Keeping Christmas, Henry Van Dyke

Whether you celebrate this holiday…Whether you spend it working, or alone, with new friends or difficult family…Whether you have enough to eat, whether there are toys or trees, joy or disappointment…Whether you dread the traffic, the budgeting, the small talk…Whether you explode down the stairs in joyful anticipation…

…there is a book for you. In your stocking, at the library, online…somewhere, there is a book written just for you. No. There are a thousand books written just for you, with a hundred more written every year. Whatever you lack, whatever you wish for, whatever problems you can’t solve, there is a book, waiting.

And if Christmas is anything, it is the finding, the loving, the learning, and the letting go of all those beautiful books meant for you. You will find your stories of wonder, of searching, of tragedy and redemption.You will find your heroes, and you will be them. You will find your villains, and you may be them too. You will never be too far gone to find your way back to your books though, because they will offer endlessly forgiveness, and strength, and hope.

We are all welcome beloved seekers of the next great story.

 

Keeping Christmas

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 men and women are just as real as you are,
and try to look behind their faces to their hearts, hungry for joy;

to own up to the fact 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 desires of little children;

to remember the weakness and loneliness of people 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 home with you
really want, without waiting for them to tell 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 Christmas.

5 thoughts on “Keeping Christmas, Henry Van Dyke

  1. Special wishes for a Christmas, that brighten you destiny
    May the moon of the Christmas season spread the christmas cheers
    Have a Merry Christmas with full of cheer and Happiness! unique and colorful Christmas wishes for you peoples!

  2. Reading is one of the pleasures of life. I developed my love of it with Doctor Doolittle and Sherlock Holmes when I was young. Now I read blogs and communicate with people all over the world. What an invention the internet is. It is a pen pal on steroids. Instant and twenty four hours.

  3. I used to think that books were the friends that I could come back to again and again and find them the same and that Internet (or pen pr phone or face) pals of any kind change and develop. This year reading your post causes me to reflect. In fact the books come back to again and again have changed and friends who are truye friends stay the same. Topsy turvy like this upside-down week between Christmas and New Years.

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