Keeping Christmas

Keeping Christmas

by Henry Van Dyke

The 2.5-minute read below was originally published in 1905 by Charles Scribner’s Sons.

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

We revised a couple of words from men to people and the Bethlehem time reference from nineteen hundred years to two thousand years. We also broke up the paragraphs a bit differently.

Imagine if we all made this a weekly read.

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


It is 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 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 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 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 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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s