We’re in the stage of our lives where we are still testing out traditions, trying to see what sticks, figuring out ways to bring the Spirit of Christmas into our home and help our little boys feel it, too. We’ve sung Christmas carols every night this month, we’ve made (and decorated and eaten) cookies, we’ve visited the sick, we’ve invited people into our home. Manchild is starting to understand about giving and receiving and cookies and candy and warmth and singing and, I hope, Christ.
It may have been a little too late, but this morning we started what I hope will become another Christmas tradition: to read A Christmas Carol in the weeks leading up to the holiday. Earlier this week I picked up an illustrated version to add to our library, and we sat down with it for a little while today. Manchild held it in his lap and turned the pages when I asked him to. I’ve read it before, and I know the story well from the many adaptations of it, but reading this speech helped me to solidify what it is I’m hoping to accomplish with these traditions. (Scrooge has just told his nephew that Christmas has never done him any good, and this is the nephew’s reply):
There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say,” returned the nephew. “Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round — apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that — as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!”
Amen. And Amen. Over the years, I hope that my boys learn to feel warmth and companionship during this cold season, that they become kind, forgiving, charitable, that their hearts are opened to their fellow men.
Merry Christmas to you all!