Christmas time is a time for family, tradition and doing good. This is reflected in many classic novels. The first book by Charles Dickens that I was introduced to at school around the age of 11 was, ‘A Christmas Carol’. This is a book that is totally devoted to what Christmas means.
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 that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Another classic book that famously captures the spirit of Christmas is, ‘Little Women’ by Louisa M Alcott. I know it made me think about the meaning of Christmas, around the age of 10 when I read my mother’s copy of the book.
That was a very happy breakfast, though they didn’t get any of it. And when they went away, leaving comfort behind, I think there were not in all the city four merrier people than the hungry little girls who gave away their breakfasts and contented themselves with bread and milk on Christmas morning.
The rooms were very still while the pages were softly turned, and the winter sunshine crept in to touch the bright heads and serious faces with a Christmas greeting.
I learnt about the book, ‘Little House On The Prairie’ by Laura Ingalls when it was televised on television. I went on to read the book afterwards and really enjoyed it. In, ‘On The Banks Of Plum Creek’, the fourth of nine books in the Little House series we learn that Christmas isn’t about things but about the simple message of giving freely to make others happy.
‘Ma!’ she cried. ‘There is a Santa Claus, isn’t there?’
‘Of course there’s a Santa Claus,’ said Ma.
‘The older you are, the more you know about Santa Claus,’ she said. ‘You are so big now, you know he can’t be just one man, don’t you? You know he is everywhere on Christmas Eve. He is in the Big Woods, and in Indian Territory, and far away in York State, and here. He comes down all the chimneys at the same time. You know that, don’t you?’
Then Ma told them something else about Santa Claus. He was everywhere, and besides that, he was all the time. Whenever anyone was unselfish, that was Santa Claus. Christmas Eve was the time when everybody was unselfish. On that one night, Santa Claus was everywhere, because everybody, all together, stopped being selfish and wanted other people to be happy. And in the morning, you saw what that had done.
On the Banks of Plum Creek
As we face into the most unusual Christmas for years let us remember what is important and that simplicity and love is all we need.
HAPPY CHRISTMAS AND SEASON’S GREETINGS!