Tuesday, December 26, 2023

van Dyke: to keep Christmas

Tuesday, December 26, 2023
    Feast of Stephen, Deacon, First Martyr
    Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them.
    Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.
    —Matthew 19:13-15 (NIV)
    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 your kindly feelings, with the gate open—are you willing to do these things even for a day? Then you can keep Christmas.
    ... Henry van Dyke (1852-1933), The Spirit of Christmas, New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1905, p. 47 (see the book)
    See also Matt. 19:13-15; 18:1-6; 22:37-39; 25:1-13; Mark 10:13-16; Luke 18:15-17; Gal. 6:1-2; Eph. 4:25; Phil. 4:8; 1 John 3:18
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, make me fit for a Christmas life.
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