“I will honor Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year.”
– Ebeneezer Scrooge, A Christmas Carol
By Charles Dickens
Scrooge says this when he faced with the reality of his future, of Christmases yet to come where he will not be there and will not be missed. Having faced the reality of himself, of his pain, regret, anger, spite, sorrow, and fear, he is brought to his knees, his icy heart broken open, and in all sincerity he swears to mend his ways, starting with Christmas. He strove for much of his life to keep his heart shut tightly against it, but now he welcomes it in with the fervor of a soul coming upon an oasis in the desert. He clings to the holiday and everything it means, everything it teaches, never letting it from his heart ever again, but kept and cherished within the deepest vaults and sanctuaries of his spirit.
That is the real challenge, isn’t it? To keep the holiness of holy days with us forever, no matter the rough and tumbles of life in a harsh, demanding world.
It’s not easy to keep Christmas with us, nor the spirit of any other holiday, of New Year’s, Valentine’s, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Independence, Memorial, and Veteran’s Day, and many more. They all have lessons to teach us, lessons which the cacophony of the world seems eager to drown out in a kaleidoscope of distractions, in thundering wars of ideas, in the weight of unending bills that must be paid, and in the struggle to survive which only ends with the silence of the grave.
No, it’s not easy to always remember what any given holiday teaches us. It’s not easy to live by those teachings every minute of every day. It’s not easy to always be our best selves.
It’s not easy at all.
But it’s worth it.
For we will be paid with joy, a boundless happiness harvested from our own actions and attitudes, a deep and abiding satisfaction with ourselves and our choices that will make all the pleasures and poisons and wonders of the world as nothing but fleeting whispers by comparison.
Merry Christmas again, everybody. And a Happy New Year! May it be one where every day is filled with all the good that the holidays do us, as we keep them in our hearts.