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Nine Moons » Blog Archive : Keeping Christmas » Keeping Christmas

Keeping Christmas

MCQ - December 22, 2011

At the end of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol we find this description of the changed Ebenezer Scrooge, after his encounter with the spirits:

and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us!

I remember the first time I heard those words, “he knew how to keep Christmas well,” and I wondered then what they meant. After hearing those words many more times over the years, knowing how to “keep Christmas well” is something I’m still not sure I understand, but I am sure it’s something I aspire to. To me, those words are reminiscent of the words found in Luke 2:19, in a description of Mary, after her meeting with the angel:

Luke 2:19: But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

What did Mary keep? The knowledge of her child, who he was and where he came from. For Mary, that knowledge was something she thought about and cherished.

Keeping Christmas may have something to do with our traditions, the lights, the tree, the food and presents. But it also has much to do with way we think about Christmas, how it lives in us, the way the knowledge of her child lived within Mary. It means that we think about not just the traditions and the celebrations, but the reasons for them and the effect they have on us and on others.

For Ebeneezer Scrooge, keeping Christmas well meant changing his life, celebrating a holiday that was previously just an inconvenience. And more than celebrating, using his means to provide for others and change the course of their lives. The reason that all of this is an important part of keeping Christmas comes from the reason we celebrate Christmas in the first place: the knowledge of what Christmas is.

The knowledge that Christ was born on that first Christmas night so long ago, that he came as a baby, that he was and is the Son of our Eternal Father, that he came to save all the world from sin and that he accomplished all the things he set out to do, that knowledge must live within us at Christmas and always. It should inform our celebrations and our traditions and change our lives and the lives of those we live among. I think that is how we can truly “keep Christmas well.”

May keeping Christmas change our lives and make us better people, as Scrooge was made better by the spirits, and may it change the course of the lives of those around us, as Bob Cratchit’s life was changed by his boss’s newfound love of his fellowman, and may it save us, as Tiny Tim was saved. Merry Christmas.


  1. The knowledge that Christ was born on that first Christmas night so long ago,

    but Jesus wasn’t born in December.

    Comment by Dan — December 22, 2011 @ 11:00 pm

  2. Did I say December? No, I said Christmas. When Christ was born, that was the first Christmas.

    Comment by MCQ — December 22, 2011 @ 11:47 pm

  3. I’ve had a lot of good Christmases, but maybe the year we kept it the most well was the year our family adopted another family and gave them Christmas. The father had abandoned them, the mom had no money, the kids were expecting nothing. We bought gifts for each family member, involved our kids in the whole thing from beginning to end, and on Christmas Eve we put everything on their doorstep, our son rang the bell and then ran like crazy. Maybe best of all, they weren’t even LDS. They just happened to be our neighbors and friends. We’ve kept that friendship alive for twenty years.

    Comment by don — December 23, 2011 @ 7:40 am

  4. Excellent don. That is indeed a good way to keep Christmas.

    Comment by MCQ — December 23, 2011 @ 2:04 pm

  5. I’ve been trying to keep Christmas by being more patient with Bill, who’s hyperactive and drives me nuts. I’m trying not to say bad things about people I despise–to other people. And I’m giving deep thought to those in my family who are struggling and turning them to God in my prayers.

    Comment by annegb — December 25, 2011 @ 3:34 pm

  6. Awesome annegb.

    Comment by MCQ — December 25, 2011 @ 4:29 pm

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