© 2024. Randolph Hub. All Rights Reserved.


Warren Dixon: The real secret and the power of Christmas

A few thoughts on Christmas:


There’s a description of the four seasons in the South, probably more appropriate for the deep South than North Carolina, that goes “Almost Summer, Summer, Still Summer and Christmas.” 


We do love Christmas in the South and we show it through our food, decorations, music and our family and community traditions. 


I was grown and married before I realized that some people did not like fruitcake, which was, and still is, my favorite Christmas treat. I think it was Johnny Carson who said, “The worst gift is a fruitcake. There is only one fruitcake in the entire world, and people keep sending it to each other.”


My favorite Christmas song, other than the old hymns, is “All I Want for Christmas Is You” by none other than Vince Vance and the Valiants. A favorite movie would be “Scrooged” with Bill Murray, although “A Christmas Story” and “A Christmas Carol” would be close seconds. “Mixed Nuts” is another refreshingly offbeat Christmas movie.


Some Christmas gift suggestions, according to Oren Arnold, are:


“To your enemy, forgiveness; To an opponent, tolerance; To a friend, your heart; To a customer, service; To all, charity; To every child, a good example; To yourself, respect.” 


We like to contradict ourselves by complaining both that we begin celebrating Christmas too early and that no one celebrates Christmas anymore. If there are forces attempting to stop us from celebrating Christmas, they’re not doing a very good job at it. Personally, I wouldn’t mind celebrating it all year long.


David Grayson was of this mind, too, this year-round Christmas. He said, “I sometimes think we expect too much of Christmas Day. We try to crowd into it the long arrears of kindliness and humanity of the whole year. As for me, I like to take my Christmas a little at a time, all through the year. And thus I drift along into the holidays — let them overtake me unexpectedly — waking up some fine morning and suddenly saying to myself: ‘Why, this is Christmas Day!’ ”


In 1905, Henry Van Dyke published The Spirit of Christmas, a short series of essays and poems on the holiday. His first essay — “Keeping Christmas” — truly captured the spirit of Christmas.


“It is a good thing to observe Christmas day. The mere marking of times and seasons, when men agree to stop work and make merry together, is a wise and wholesome custom. It helps one to feel the supremacy of the common life over the individual life. It reminds a man to set his own little watch, now and then, by the great clock of humanity which runs on sun time. 


“But there is a better thing than the observance of Christmas day, and that is, keeping Christmas. 


“Are you willing to forget what you have done for other people, and to remember what other people have done for you; to ignore what the world owes you, and to think what you own the world; to put your rights in the background, and your duties in the middle distance, and your chances to do a little more than your duty in the foreground; to see that your fellow-men are just as real as you are, and try to look behind their faces to their hearts, hungry for joy; to own that probably the only good reason for your existence is not what you are going to get out of life, but what you are going to give to life; to close your book of complaints against the management of the universe, and look around you for a place where you can sow a few seeds of happiness — are you willing to do these things even for a day? Then you can keep Christmas.


“Are you willing to stoop down and consider the needs and desires of little children; to remember the weakness and loneliness of people who are growing old; to stop asking how much your friends love you, and ask yourself whether you love them enough; to bear in mind the things that other people have to bear on their hearts; to try to understand what those who live in the same house with you really want, without waiting for them to tell you; to trim your lamp so that it will give more light and less smoke, and to carry it in front so that your shadow will fall behind you; to make a grave for your ugly thoughts, and a garden for your kindly feelings, with the gate open — are you willing to do these things even for a day? Then you can keep Christmas. 


“Are you willing to believe that love is the strongest thing in the world — stronger than hate, stronger than evil, stronger than death — and that the blessed life which began in Bethlehem nineteen hundred years ago is the image of brightness of the Eternal Love? Then you can keep Christmas.


“And if you can keep it for a day, why not always?


“But you can never keep it alone.” 


I wish for all of you a very Merry Christmas.