“Scrooge regarded everyone with a delighted smile. He looked so irresistibly pleasant, in a word, that three or four good-humored fellows said, ‘Good morning, sir! A Merry Christmas to you!’ and Scrooge said often afterward, that of all the blithe sounds he had ever heard, those were the blithest in his ears.”
Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
“Come December that green door gave the place a Christmasy look that atoned for our want of pretty lights. I felt awful for Swede, who was by now the chief deliverer of Christmas spirit in the family—she’d learned to make sugar cookies the year before and, in fact, made them about three times a week from Thanksgiving on. We did our best to eat them. Unorthodox with embellishments, Swede had once used frozen peas instead of raisins because of the color; she’d made Santa’s curly beard from pieces of uncooked elbow macaroni. I remember Davy crunching heavily through one of these, Swede eyeing him closely; I remember Davy’s flawless display of gladness and enjoyment, eating Santa quickly and entirely and producing afterward a happy burp that convinced even me he had liked it.”
Leif Enger, Peace Like a River
“It was a sledge, and it was reindeer with bells on their harness. But they were far bigger than the Witch’s reindeer, and they were not white, but brown. And on the sledge sat a person whom everyone knew the moment they set eyes on him. He was a huge man in a bright red robe (bright as holly-berries) with a hood that had fur inside it and a great white beard that fell like a foamy waterfall over his chest. Everyone knew him because, though you see people of this sort only in Narnia, you see pictures of them and hear them talked about even in our world—the world on this side of the wardrobe door. But when you really see them in Narnia it is rather different. Some of the pictures of Father Christmas in our world make him look only funny and jolly. But now that the children actually stood looking at him they didn’t find it quite like that. He was so big, and so glad, and so real, that they all became quite still. They felt very glad, but also solemn.”
C.S. Lewis, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
“They played so hard all day that when night came they were too excited to sleep. But they must sleep, or Santa Claus would not come. So they hung their stockings by the fireplace, and said their prayers, and went to bed—Alice and Ella and Mary and Laura all in one big bed on the floor . . .”
In the morning they all woke up almost at the same moment. They looked at their stockings, and something was in them. Santa Claus had been there. Alice and Ella and Laura in their red flannel nightgowns, and Peter in his red flannel nightshirt, all ran shouting to see what he had brought.
In each stocking there was a pair of bright red mittens, and there was a long, flat stick of red-and-white-striped peppermint candy, all beautifully notched along each side.
They were all so happy they could hardly speak at first. They just looked with shining eyes at those lovely Christmas presents. But Laura was happiest of all. Laura had a rag doll.”
Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House in the Big Woods
“Christmas Eve. It was the day when the delight of Christmas really took fire in the Stanton family. Hints and glimmerings and promises of special things, which had flashed in and out of life for weeks before, now suddenly blossomed into a constant glad expectancy. The house was full of wonderful baking smells from the kitchen, in a corner of which Gwen could be found putting the final touches to the icing of the Christmas cake. Her mother had made the cake three weeks before; the Christmas pudding, three months before that. Ageless, familiar Christmas music permeated the house whenever anyone turned on the radio. The television set was never turned on it all; it had become, for this season, an irrelevance. For Will, the day brought itself into natural focus every early. Straight after breakfast—an even more haphazard affair than usual—there was the double ritual of the Yule log and the Christmas tree.”
Susan Cooper, The Dark is Rising
“’Last Christmas Eve,’ he began, ‘we had received orders to be prepared for a surprise attack against the Russians . . .
We crept out into the snow, countless silent dark shapes against the whiteness, and ran to the sunken road which lay between our lines and the mountainside where the Russian trenches were . . .
And then, just ahead of me I saw a boy kneel in the snow before a wayside crucifix and light a candle. It flickered in the still air, casting a feeble light on the image of Christ above it . . . as I looked around I saw that more and more candles were lighted all around . . . The hillside now was one glow of light and the crucifix was bright with an unearthly bright . . .
Across the valley, on the hillside where the Russians were entrenched, a few small flames began to tremble, then more and more. Candles, hundreds of them, thousands, one for every gun that now was silent . . . Perhaps the Christ Child had walked between the lines and while He walked, peace had stayed the guns.’”
Kate Seredy, The Singing Tree
“Jo was the first to wake in the gray dawn of Christmas morning. No stockings hung at the fireplace, and for a moment she felt as much disappointed as she did long ago, when her little sock fell down because it was so crammed with goodies. Then she remembered her mother’s promise, and, slipping her hand under her pillow, drew out a little crimson-covered book. She knew it very well, for it was that beautiful old story of the best life ever lived, and Jo felt that it was a true guidebook for any pilgrim going the long journey. She woke Meg with a ‘Merry Christmas,’ and bade her see what was under her pillow. A green-covered book appeared, with the same picture inside, a few words written by their mother, which made their one present very precious in their eyes. Presently Beth and Amy woke, to rummage and find their little books also—on dove-colored, the other blue; and all sat looking at and talking about them, while the east grow rosy with the coming day.”
Louisa May Alcott, Little Women
“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! ‘Maybe Christmas,’ he thought, “doesn’t come from a store. ‘Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!’ And what happened then…? Well…in Who-ville they say That the Grinch’s small heart Grew three sizes that day!”
Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas
“About that time Caesar Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Empire. This was the first census when Quirinius was governor of Syria. Everyone had to travel to his own ancestral hometown to be accounted for. So Joseph went from the Galilean town of Nazareth up to Bethlehem in Judah, David’s town, for the census. As a descendant of David, he had to go there. He went with Mary, his fiancée, who was pregnant.
While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the hostel.
There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, ‘Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.’
At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises:
Glory to God in the heavenly heights,
Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.
As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. ‘Let’s get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us.’ They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the sheepherders were impressed.
Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The sheepherders returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they’d been told!
Luke 2:1-20 (The Message)
- 24 December 2012