Like a fire that warms the soul

Christmas comes in the cold. Sometimes in the bitter cold. And because of its timing, it brings with it a lifesaving metaphor of the power and warmth, of light, of changed lives out of paradoxical circumstances: light in the darkness, warmth in the bitterest of cold. It is the strange and delicious sensation that just by staring at light in the cold and dark, we start to feel some warmth of hope.

At the end of his great Christmas story, “A Christmas Carol“, Dickens has Scrooge make an epiphanal conversion . From the cold man who lived in a cold house, a fire is lit in his heart and soul, till he exudes warmth on everyone he meets. On Christmas day, after his night with the three spirits of Christmas past, present and future, he comes to the conclusion that Christmas is both a day and a spirit that can live in him throughout the year:

“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.”

-Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

In these trying times which are encompassing more of us than in our recent past, when the temperatures plunge down to colder days, the warmth of Christ and Christmas are what help us, also, forge ahead. We can carry its warmth inside us year around. But not just forge ahead for ourselves only, to take the lead as those who help bring the warmth and light of Christ and the truth to others. As we warm the lives of others with our Christmas spirit and our stand for the truth, we make our own spirit grow warmer and brighter. As Chesterton points out about Christ’s birth: He is not just a “summer sun for the prosperous but a winter fire for the unfortunate.”

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