Christmas should have long lasting effects, but often it comes in the form of debt. Every year I read about how people will be paying off Christmas debt for the months leading up to the next Christmas, and then the cycle restarts. (Interestingly, I found most of these stories come from U.K. news outlets – American writers seem more concerned with finding the best credit cards for paying off Christmas debt.
Rather than using the monthly billing statements as a reminder of that Christmas spirit, I suggest that you keep playing those Christmas carols, reread the Gospel of Luke’s account of the Christmas story, and watch George C. Scott play Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. These are timeless, not seasonal messages. Or, if you want something a little different, I recommend Edward Hermann’s telling of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s Christmas, or the story behind I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day. Christmas day, for Longfellow, provides an important perspective on grief.
As we enter the new year, I offer the immortal words of Ebenezer Scrooge, the crabby old miser who became an incurable Christmas enthusiast overnight:
“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”