The Three Benchmarks of Christmas


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

Christmas Eve brings together all the magic of the holiday season.  The last minute shopping completed, we ready our hearts for the special day anticipated since the beginning of December.  All the plans have been made, the gifts wrapped and the baking completed.

And then the day comes…

Christmas has a number of benchmarks that have a subtle influence over all of our holiday activities, even though most of us do not recognize them as self-imposed standards of excellence. We compare our abilities to give gifts to our children.  We determine who can make the best eggnog, send the most Christmas cards; even who has the greatest number of guests seated at the dinner table.  We exchange Christmas letters that confirm that we have been blessed over the past year.  Looking beyond individual endeavors,  even the markets of the world calculate the effect of Christmas purchases on stock prices – toys, electronics, and clothes. Charitable organizations measure the amount of homeless that need to be fed and housed over Christmas.  One day creates a generous amount of statistics.

And then the day comes…

Why is Christmas so extraordinary?  Gifts are given at birthdays; love is celebrated on Valentine’s Day, rebirth at the Vernal Equinox.  Perhaps it is because Christmas gives us three benchmarks that speak to the longing of all humanity.   They are found in all traditions and have been embraced throughout history.  These standards of excellence are set so high that only a global community can achieve them….collectively.

Joy to the World – for all creatures that live on our earth

Peace on Earth – for all of our wondrously diverse cultures and traditions.

Goodwill to mankind – for all to accept our responsibility to others; to cooperate, respect and participate.

As we celebrate Christmas, may we be guided by these benchmarks throughout the coming year.  By our resolve to be a positive influence for good, we become the gift that keeps on giving.

And it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!” 
― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol