"Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind.
To cherish peace and goodwill,
to be plenteous in mercy is to have
the real spirit of Christmas."
- Calvin Coolidge
I've been ruminating on this quote lately. Besides the many small pleasures of this season we're currently in (such as drinking hot cocoa in a festive cup) it also brings us numerous large opportunities to spread goodwill and extend mercy. Buying toys for children who are victims of child abuse, sending goodies to our missionary friends in faraway places, creating fruit baskets for the church shut-ins, hosting holiday parties, sending Christmas cards...the list is truly endless. If you think about the quote, though, the Christmas feeling should not be contained to just this holiday season. If one only cherishes peace and goodwill and is plenteous with his mercy simply because "'Tis the Season," he misses out on a wonderful state of mind to live in year-round.
Maybe my New Year's resolution should be to have the spirit of Christmas throughout 2011, not just towards the end. I think that's one I can get past February with! I like to think that I try my best to do this already, because Coolidge's definition of the Christmas spirit surely overlaps with the Bible's definition of the Christian spirit. Yes, I like to think that, but I know I still have a long way to go...
"Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father,
is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction,
and to keep oneself unspotted from the world."
- James 1:27 (English Standard Version)
"What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith
but does not have works? Can that faith save him?
If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking
in daily food, and one of you says to them,
'Go in peace, be warmed and filled,'
without giving them the things needed for the body,
what good is that?
So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead."
- James 2:14-17 (English Standard Version, emphasis mine)
What about you? What are your favorite ways to promote peace, goodwill, and mercy specifically during the holiday season? And please share if you have ideas for keeping the Christmas (and Christian) spirit alive throughout the rest of the year. =)