After the unforgettable Christmas when three ghosts visit Ebeneezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Ebeneezer Scrooge is changed forever. Dickens concludes his classic story with these words: “and it was always said of him, that he (Scrooge) knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge.”
Seattle Pacific University “keeps Christmas well.” On Friday night, the campus community celebrated Tradition, an outdoor Christmas festival. A Christian band (Kaleidoscope) provided music, and there were cookies to frost, photo stations, and even reindeer to pet this year! My daughter learned how to make snowflakes back in her dorm a little later, compliments of one of the guys on a floor that has been putting on a post-Tradition Christmas party for years.
The following morning, the sophomores banged on the doors of the freshman, calling them to a “Christmas morning” breakfast they were putting on for them in the main lobby room–also a dorm tradition.
The amazing thing to me is that the same dorm put on the same post-Tradition party and “Christmas morning” breakfast when my older daughter was there. I love the continuity in homey, joy-filled traditions in a place like a college dorm, where there’s a lot of turnover year to year in students and RAs. Finals are upon them at SPU, but the campus leaders and student body make room for Christmas.
Speaking of tradition, my husband and I attended the 57th annual Julfest today at First Covenant Church in Seattle, Washington. Beautiful and meaningful as ever, it fills my heart with joy and draws me in to the Advent season where we wait for Jesus to come and bring light to a seemingly ever-darker world. First Covenant “keeps Christmas well,” too.
I needed these reminders this week of what it means to “keep Christmas well.” I was letting the chores and expectations (my self-imposed expectations) of what I need to do to “make Christmas happen” make me feel stressed and nervous. The joy in my freshman daughter’s voice as she told me about the special Christmas she was already having despite the stress of her first Finals coming up, and the children’s eagerness to share their special Julfest event and Lucia pageant with everyone who came, helped me remember that Christmas comes from a heart that can’t help but “Go, tell it on the mountain, that Jesus Christ is born!”
Dickens makes sure we know that Scrooge’s change was permanent when he tells us that he “kept Christmas well.”
“May that be said of us, and of all of us! . . .God bless Us, Every One!”