“Christmas comes but once a year,” sang the orphans in the Fleischer Studios’ classic animation.
But suppose it was early February, mid-June, or late October and there was no Santa, no reindeers, no baby Jesus in a manger; not one beautifully wrapped gift beckoning to kids from beneath a Christmas tree.
Could it still be Christmas?
According to novelist Edna Ferber, “Christmas isn’t a season. It’s a feeling.”
So, could it be a feeling we have all year long and, if so, what would that be like?
According to other commentators what it wouldn’t be is 365 days of tinsel and turkey!
Here’s how they have described a year-long Christmas:
Summarising, you could say a continuous Christmas would involve a joyful, honest, loving approach to thinking and acting. And, I would add, one that evidences the divine Source of these qualities.
If some were nodding in agreement until those last few words, and are thinking “Where is this ‘divine Source’, I’ve never seen or heard it?”, you’re not alone. You could call it the “Calvin and Hobbes” Christmas quandary, based on a classic cartoon by Bill Watterson.
CALVIN: This whole Santa Claus thing just doesn’t make sense. Why all the secrecy? Why all the mystery? If the guy exists why doesn’t he ever show himself and prove it? And if he doesn’t exist what’s the meaning of all this?
HOBBES: I dunno. Isn’t this a religious holiday?
CALVIN: Yeah, but actually, I’ve got the same questions about God.
The deeper meaning of Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Jesus because he arguably solved that quandary. The Bible is full of stories of men and women who caught glimpses of the divine nature and did amazing things as a result of their clarity of spiritual vision. Yet Jesus is the individual through whom the nature of Deity is most clearly perceived and understood.
Just like the smile on our face expresses our unseen thoughts, so the practical, healing love Jesus lived showed the presence and power of the Divine—whom Christian Science founder Mary Baker Eddy once described as “the Infinite Unseen”.
Jesus was not infinite and he was seen. So I don’t consider the man Jesus was or is Deity. Yet the unparalleled goodness of the Galilean prophet most vividly illustrated the very nature of God as “incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love”.
>These “Divine synonyms” are pinpointed in Eddy’s book on Christian healing, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. They offer seven profound ways to thoughtfully meditate on God’s presence and power. In doing so in humble prayer it’s possible to gain a little more, daily, of the clear understanding of God Jesus had, by which he healed.
Then, like those multicolored holiday lights that brighten neighbourhoods each Christmas, we can express a little more of the light of the Christ spirit and bring a warm glow to the lives we touch at any time of the year.
Doing so every day of the coming year could make us happier. It should make us more loving. It can bring us healing.
Could it even help the world find better solutions to some of its more pressing problems?
It would, according to a rhyming couplet by writer and women’s rights campaigner Helen Steiner Rice.
She concluded: “Peace on earth will come to stay, When we live Christmas every day.”
Are you in? Are you ready to strive for that, next year?
Let’s declare 2016 a continuous spiritual Christmas!
* All Wikipedia Commons photos are listed as being in the public domain.