keeping christmas

keeping christmas

The 2.5-minute read below was originally published in 1905 by Charles Scribner's Sons. You can listen to it below.

Whether or not you celebrate Christmas, it's an inspiring reminder to make that holiday spirit an all-the-time thing.

We revised a few words from men to people and the Bethlehem time reference from nineteen hundred years to two thousand years. We also made the tone a little less formal in a few spots, broke up the paragraphs a bit differently, and added good-looking printable versions below.

Imagine if we all reflected on these things once a week.

If you like it, please be sure to share it with other people! 

Enjoy listening to Keeping Christmas...

(To listen in your podcast app, search 'Inspire Your People'. Please email us with feedback on anything or if you have any challenges.)

It's a good thing to observe Christmas day.

The mere marking of times and seasons, when people 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 person to set their own little watch, now and then, by the great clock of humanity which runs on sun time.

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

Are you willing to forget what you've 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 owe 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 be 212 and Smile & Move?)

To see that your fellow-people 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're going to get out of life, but what you're 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.

More below...

Are you willing to stoop down and consider the needs and the 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 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 two thousand years ago is the image and brightness of the Eternal Love?

Then you can keep Christmas.

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

But you can never keep it alone.

Love Your People.

Keeping Christmas with Barn Get this printable version

Keeping Christmas with Trees Get this printable version


Want to talk through ideas on how to use our messages and ideas with your team?

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To reach Sam (narrator of this post and author of the books we publish), email him directly or call him at 804-762-4500 ext. 212. Want him to speak at your upcoming meeting or event?

Smile & Move. Be happy. Do great work. Get the book.

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