“A holiday gives one a chance to look backward and forward, to reset oneself by an inner compass” (Mary Sarton).

ONCE IN A WHILE, IT’S GOOD TO CELEBRATE. Many of the traditions with which we celebrate this day of the year are English in their origin, and the English have a special fondness for this sort of thing, as we remember when we read Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. Blanchard Jerrold quipped, “If an earthquake were to engulf England tomorrow, the English would manage to meet and dine somewhere among the rubbish, just to celebrate the event.”

When we look up “celebrate” in the dictionary, we find something like this: “to observe a day or event with ceremonies of respect, festivity, or rejoicing” (American Heritage Dictionary). Respect, festivity, and rejoicing. All three of these suggest important thoughts:

Respect. At the heart of all good celebration is respect, and to a great extent, it is tradition and history that give respect its power. When we celebrate, we tip our hat to good things that’ve gone before.

Festivity. Celebration and festivity go together like fireplaces and hot chocolate. Who could imagine celebrating anything important without the presence of good food gratefully enjoyed by friends?

Rejoicing. When the work of the world and its worries have worn us out, we need to be revitalized. The honest-to-goodness joy that bubbles up from worthwhile celebration is one of life’s treasures.

For many, today’s date has a religious significance. Regardless of the pros and cons of that, however, the traditional “homely” celebrations of this day are really quite wonderful, and we should not miss the opportunity to relish their enjoyment.

When we celebrate, we grow in character by honoring something outside of ourselves. On this particular day, if what we honor is nothing more than our connection to those around us, that’s no small thing to celebrate. The act of honoring lifts us above the ordinary and refreshes our outlook. Friendships are strengthened, families are enriched, and our perspective is broadened. Days like today do us a world of good. We ought to “keep” Christmas for all it’s worth!

“In celebration the high and the mighty regain their balance, and the weak and lowly receive new stature” (Richard J. Foster).

Gary Henry — WordPoints.com + AreYouaChristian.com

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