What does Christmas mean to you? Anything special, or just another day?
As I mentioned in my post about the Winter Solstice, I see the Christmas holidays as a time to celebrate the return of the sun to its northward journey, and a time for us to openly express the goodwill and brotherly/sisterly love that resides deep in our souls but is too often smothered by the machinations of business.
One of my favourite articles about Christmas is called Mankind Is Our Business, by Ingrid Van Mater. It’s about Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, which always brings tears to my eyes when I watch the movie, with Alistair Sim, on Christmas Eve.
I want to share some excerpts with you from Ingrid’s article, but I urge you to click on the link and read the whole piece.
One of the most moving statements in this Christmas tale is by Marley’s Ghost when despairing over “life’s opportunities misused.” Scrooge, trembling with fear and beginning to share in Marley’s guilt, says: “But you were always a good man of business, Jacob.” Upon which the Ghost cried out in anguish:
“Business! Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”
These words stand as an eloquent expression of our grand human purpose, suggesting that it is our inner thoughts and feelings, our motives, our priorities, which contribute to making our lives an emptiness or a fullness. What we are in our whole being is so much grander than anything we can measure by surface values. In Goethe’s words, “We are shaped and fashioned by what we love.” The “comprehensive ocean” brings to mind the vast spiritual resources in ourselves, that ocean of truth within, that we are just beginning to discover. From this standpoint our routine activities in themselves are but a “drop of water” compared to our total duty or “business” as innately caring and responsible human beings. — Ingrid Van Mater in Mankind Is Our Business
A Christmas Carol arouses our sympathies and gives hope for humankind. It belongs to this sacred birthtime of the year, a time of beginnings and opportunities, when all things — and people too — are touched by the tide of renewal. As Scrooge’s nephew said when his uncle formerly dismissed Christmas and its joyous significance with the words, Bah! Humbug!:
“I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come around 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 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 . . . as if they were fellow-passengers. . . .” — Ingrid Van Mater in Mankind Is Our Business
How about you? Please share your thoughts about Christmas . . .
We are not brought into existence by chance nor thrown up into earth-life like wreckage cast along the shore, but are here for infinitely noble purposes.— Katherine Tingley
Yes ! Great post. Marley’s ghost wails in anguish…
Christmas is special. We celebrate with our closest friends, none of them Christian; we always have a lovely time.