Why is it the world seems to escape us more at Christmas than at any other time of the year? Life seems to move at such a pace, sometimes uncontrollably so. And yet surely this is the time we should take stock just a little bit more…a time we should be pausing for just a few minutes to focus on what this wonderful season is really all about.
Perhaps these clever quotations, insightful comments and pertinent pieces of poetry – accompanied by some beautiful images – might help you do just that. Some are sprinkled through our November and December calendar pages, but are grouped here for your enjoyment. Others will be new to you. So please take a minute for yourself and ponder.
“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 (1872-1933), 30th US President
“Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, love divine:
Love was born at Christmas,
Star and angels gave the sign.”
Christina Rossetti (1830-1894), English poet
“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.” Hamilton Wright Mabie (1846-1916), American essayist
“Let the children have their night of fun and laughter. Let the gifts of Father Christmas delight their play. Let us grown-ups share to the full their unstinted pleasures before we turn again to the stern tasks and the formidable years that lie before us, resolved that, by our sacrifice and daring, these same children shall not be robbed of their inheritance or denied their right to live in a free and decent world.” Winston Churchill (1874-1965), from his 1941 WWII Christmas message
“For creeping softly underneath
The door when all the lights are out,
Jack Frost takes every breath you breathe,
And knows the things you think about.
He paints them on the windowpane
In fairy lines with frozen steam;
And when you wake you see again
The lovely things you saw in dream.”
Gabriel Setoun (1861-1930), Scottish poet & author
…in spite of much unhappiness and want, war and its many hardships, and the loneliness of some…it is true to say that life is happier, hearts are lighter, minds are quickened to deeds of love and thoughts of others. It is Christmas!
Leslie D. Weatherhead (1893-1976), English Christian theologian.
“A good conscience is a continual Christmas.” Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), one of America’s founding fathers
“The holidays are welcome to me partly because they are such rallying points for the affections which get so much thrust aside in the business and preoccupations of daily life.” George Edward Woodberry (1855-1930), American literary critic and poet
“Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:2
“A man is at his finest towards the finish of the year;
He is almost what he should be when the Christmas season’s here;
Then he’s thinking more of others than he’s thought the months before,
And the laughter of his children is a joy worth toiling for.
He is less a selfish creature than at any other time;
When the Christmas spirit rules him he comes close to the sublime.”
Edgar A. Guest (1881-1959), English-born American poet
“My thoughts are drawn back, by a fascination which I do not care to resist, to my own childhood. I begin to consider, what do we all remember best upon the branches of the Christmas Tree of our own young Christmas days, by which we climbed to real life.” Charles Dickens (1812-1870)
“Here we are again. Christmas seems to come round pretty soon again: always much the same and always different.” JRR Tolkien (1892-1973), from a letter to his children in 1935
“Somewhere between the angel and Mary’s house I had figured it out. The first gift of Christmas. It just came. It came to my heart. The first gift of Christmas was love.” Richard Paul Evans, from ‘The Christmas Box’
“Were I a philosopher, I should write a philosophy of toys, showing that nothing else in life need to be taken seriously, and that Christmas Day in the company of children is one of the few occasions on which men become entirely alive.” Robert Lynd (1879-1949), Irish writer
“Christmas is a necessity. There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we’re here for something else besides ourselves.” Eric Sevareid (1912-1992), distinguished US News Correspondent
“Christmas isn’t a season. It’s a feeling.” Edna Ferber (1885-1968), American novelist & playwright
“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 (1904-1991)
“Christmas time! That man must be a misanthrope indeed, in whose breast something like a jovial feeling is not roused – in whose mind some pleasant associations are not awakened – by the recurrence of Christmas.” Charles Dickens (1812-1870)
“Children are God’s own angels, sent by him to brighten our world, and what we do for these messengers from the sky, especially at that time of year that belongs to them, will come back to us threefold, like unto bread cast upon the waters.” Ladies Home Journal, December 1893.
Christmas gift suggestions:
To your enemy, forgiveness,
To an opponent, tolerance,
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service,
To all, charity,
To every child, a good example,
To yourself, respect.
Oren Arnold (1900-1980), American novelist and humorist
“I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual. It is surprising how contented one can be with nothing definite – only a sense of existence….O how I laugh when I think of my vague indefinite riches. No run on my bank can drain it, for my wealth is not possession but enjoyment.” Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), American author & abolitionist
“Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.” Washington Irving (1783-1859), American author
“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14
“Deep in the winter night, the family will come one by one, carrying great and small boxes, brilliant in all colours, ribboned in red and green, silver and gold, bright blue, placing them under me with the hands of their hearts, until all around me they are piled high, climbing up into my branches…the children in their pajamas and woollen slippers rub their sleeping eyes and stare at me in amazement. The mother with her hair hanging down her back smiles and glances here and there, and the father looks up and down at me, quiet and pleased…for I am the Christmas tree.” Fritz Peters (1913-1979), American novelist and memoirist
“Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.” Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867-1957), Author of the “Little House” books
“Somehow, not only for Christmas, but all the long year through, the joy that you give to others is the joy that comes back to you. And the more you spend in blessing the poor and lonely and sad, the more of your heart’s possessing returns to you glad.” John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892), American poet
Whatever else be lost among the years,
Let us keep Christmas still a shining thing:
Whatever doubts assail us, or what fears,
Let us hold close one day, remembering
Its poignant meaning for the hearts of men.
Let us get back our childlike faith again.
Grace Noll Crowell (1877-1969), American poet
“Was there ever a wider and more loving conspiracy than that which keeps the venerable figure of Santa Claus from slipping away, with all the other old-time myths, into the forsaken wonderland of the past?” Hamilton Wright Mabie (1846-1916), American Essayist
“It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its Mighty Founder was a child himself.” Charles Dickens (1812-1870)
“Remember this December that love weighs more than gold!” Josephine Dodge Daskam Bacon (1876-1961), American author.
How will you your Christmas keep?
Feasting, fasting, or asleep?
…Be it kept with joy or pray’r,
Keep of either some to spare;
Whatsoever brings the day,
Do not keep but give away.
Eleanor Farjeon (1881-1965), English author
“Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won’t make it ‘white’.” Bing Crosby (1904-1977), American singer and actor
“I do hope your Christmas has…a little touch of Eternity in among the rush and pitter patter and all. It always seems such a mixing of this world and the next – but that, after all, is the idea.” Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), English writer and pacifist
“The things we do at Christmas are touched with a certain extravagance, as beautiful, in some of its aspects, as the extravagance of nature in June.” Robert Collyer (1823-1912), English-born American clergyman
“Christmas time and happy time,
Set the bells to ringing.
Merry time and joyous time,
Love its good gifts bringing.
Bright the way when love shines through,
Short the way when hearts beat true;
Love will make all skies seem blue…
Join the Yule-tide singing.”
Will M. Maupin (1863-1948), Nebraska newspaperman
“The only things we ever keep are what we give away.” Louis Ginsberg (1896-1976), American poet & professor
Don’t expect too much of Christmas Day. You can’t crowd into it any arrears of unselfishness and kindliness that may have accrued during the past twelve months. Oren Arnold, (1900-1980), American novelist and humorist
Love, tenderness, sympathy, understanding, kindness, thought for others, unselfishness, humility – these qualities get full marks. For most of the year they are assessed at little value…At Christmas we take them out and wear them as a crown. Leslie D. Weatherhead (1893-1976), English Christian theologian
Christmas hath a darkness
Brighter than the blazing noon;
Christmas hath a chilliness
Warmer than the heart of June;
Christmas hath a beauty
Lovelier than the world can show
Christina Rossetti (1830-1894), English Poet
Christmas, children, is not a date. It is a state of mind. Mary Ellen Chase (1887-1973), American educator and author.