The Spirit of Christmas by Henry van Dyke is an illuminating book regarding Christmas and the most profound meaning of it.
There are some prayers, but also a beautiful tale, and a little essay about Christmas-Giving and Christmas-Living.
Always more often you hear people saying once Christmas approaches: "I don't want any gift and I won't present to people any gift. There is no money to spend for these silly manifestations of love."
Implied there is a message: "If you'll present me a gift you won't receive anything in return."
Christmas is a Catholic feast "adopted" from the Pagan feast of Light so loved by Romans and the tradition of sharing gifts is old like the world.
Romans loved to exchange little branches of sacred trees with their friends, relatives, for celebrating the moment of poorest light of all the year.
With Christianity the story of gift became profoundly connected with the arrival of little Baby Jesus Christ. God donated his Child to the world as one of the best presents for the Humanity. He lived for serving people for teaching us the Word of God.
His Dad donated Him various gifts: the one of healing, the one of turning water into wine during the marriage at Cana of Galilee of St. Jude Thaddeus, his cousin. It was remarkable.
And do we want to speak of the moltiplication of fish and bread?
Christmas is a little moment of the year: just one day in which we should demonstrate our love and affection to people we know.
But so: what means for the Christianity this so-hated for some people manifestation of love and connections that a gift brings with itself?
In the book it's very clear: "I am thinking of you to-day because it is Christmas, and I wish you happiness. And to-morrow, because it will be the day after Christmas, I still wish you happiness; and so on, clear through the year. I may not be able to tell you about it every day, because I be far away; or because both of us may be very busy; or perhaps because I cannot even afford to pay the postage on so many letters, or find the time to write them. But that makes no difference. The thought and the wish will be just the same. In my work and in the business of life, I mean to try not to be unfair to you or injure you in any way. In my pleasure, if we can be together I would like to share the fun with you. Whatever joy or success comes to you will make me glad. Without pretense, and in plain words, good-will to you is what I mean, in the Spirit of Christmas."
I downloaded this ebook on Amazon.
Anna Maria Polidori