This week I had three Thanksgiving dinners. One with family, one volunteering, and one at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Franklin -my interfaith community. Family, friends, and community. Family was fun and boisterous. Friends was thoughtful and interesting. Community was touching and made me grateful for what I have both in the way of people in my life and physical comforts. Things can be bought, but mainly it made me more grateful for my family, friends, and my mate.Now that I’ve gotten past that introspection, I’ve changed the quote on the board at work, something I do regularly. I changed it to part of this quote.
“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”
― Dr. Seuss,
Most people in Western Culture have probably been exposed to Dr. Seuss and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Many of us have been exposed to Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. I am proud to be able to claim Dickens for my faith tradition, though strictly speaking Dickens was a Unitarian since Universalism had not merged with Unitarianism until the 1960s. I don’t usually go religious but the holidays brings out sentimentality in me and most people don’t realize that Dickens wasn’t a traditional Christian.
I want to share with you another quote from Dickens this time, but from another source that’s probably unfamiliar to you, “What Christmas is as we grow older“:
“Welcome, everything! Welcome, alike what has been, and what never was, and what we hope may be, to your shelter underneath the holly, to your places round the Christmas fire, where what is sits open- hearted! In yonder shadow, do we see obtruding furtively upon the blaze, an enemy’s face? By Christmas Day we do forgive him! If the injury he has done us may admit of such companionship, let him come here and take his place. If otherwise, unhappily, let him go hence, assured that we will never injure nor accuse him.
On this day we shut out Nothing!”