“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” ~ Charles Dickens
My go-to Christmas movie is A Christmas Carol (1938 version starring Reginald Owen). In that movie, Ebenezer Scrooge gets the fright of his life as he is confronted by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. His experiences with each of them cause him to reevaluate his life and make a firm decision to be committed to the essence of all three spirits and to live Christmas fully.
A Christmas Carol changed the life of its author, Charles Dickens. He and his wife were near poverty at the time of the writing. Dickens had written much about Christmas in the past and A Christmas Carol seemed to be a reflection of his hope in the spirit of Christmas as well as the reality of poverty in society.
Christmas has a tendency to change many people. As Christmas nears, they begin to become more open and more caring for others. There is a spirit of love and cheer among many people. It’s just too bad that it only lasts a few weeks.
Advent challenges us to embody the hope and joy of Christmas for more than a few days or weeks. It challenges us to embody Christmas love and joy throughout our lives.
Today we celebrate one who embodied Christmas in his very person. The feast of St. Nicholas, more commonly called Santa Claus, reminds us that many of our holiday stories are based upon real people. St. Nicholas was a bishop in the 300s who helped other people by providing for their needs. The legend grew so strong that the name Santa Claus was given when mentioning him.
Nicholas brought hope and joy to others by the gifts he gave. Imagine the hope and joy that we could bring to others if we reached out to them in their need rather than focusing upon our own wants and desires. Advent challenges us to do just that, to reach out to others.
FAITH ACTION: As you sit in silence, think about the story of St. Nicholas and reflect how you might bring hope and joy to others.