Christmas offers a Culture of the Lasting!
Near the end of Charles Dickens’ The Christmas Carol, the now converted Ebenezer Scrooge makes this fine declaration “I will honor Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year.” What is it that Scrooge will now honor? What is the great lesson he has learned? Well for one: “We can’t take it with us when we pass on!” We have to leave our accumulated wealth and riches “stored in our barns.”
Instead Scrooge heard that what matters is another legacy: “How we loved and how we shared our lives with others, especially those with far less which is the only luggage we can take. When we prepare in this way, we are beginning to honor Christmas in our hearts. Scrooge learned quite dramatically from his nocturnal visitors: it is not about taking, but about sharing.
As in the time of Charles Dickens, this is still a tough lesson to learn. Pope Francis often preaches about our “Culture of the Temporary.” Where we gather the latest fad to make us happy and then when that stops working, we reach for next latest fad. And this cycle never ends.
But Christmas offers us a new culture, the “Culture of the Lasting.” This culture rests firmly on looking for ways--“we can honor Christmas in our hearts and keep it all the year.”
The shepherds may be good examples of this. Don’t you think the shepherds honored the Holy Family in their hearts when they witnessed the humble circumstances of their surroundings?
They probably looked for ways to help warm the Holy Family, by giving up their cloaks and woolen wraps for them. Humble as their gifts were, they did give some relief. In life we can always find those few who try to make a bad situation better-- like these shepherds. And we can do the same.
Let's remember that it is not always the big, glamorous acts like weekend TV marathons that raise money for charities that does the greatest good. It can also be a warm apple pie baked for a neighbor who lives alone and has few visitors--that makes a bigger difference. We too can do the same with simple acts of love, which honors Christmas in our hearts and by our hands throughout the year!
The sounds of Christmas carols have faded from malls and shopping centers, but we can find ways to keep Christmas alive on our roads and streets with small acts of love arising from our hearts.
And who knows, we may even move our culture from a Culture of the Temporary to a Culture of the Lasting….and with Scrooge and the Shepherds have our small deeds make a big difference! Now this is worth a try!
HAPPY NEW YEAR ONE AND ALL!