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Summary: Is that what I do? Do I 'keep Christmas.well? I have a feeling that many of us do not. Maybe we do not how to keep Christmas. We do not know how to Treasure Christmas, so we just celebrate it.

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For those not familiar with an Anglican Service, there are Four Scripture readings prior to the message. Those assigned for this day are Isaiah 9:2-7; Psalm 96; Titus 2:11-14 and Luke 2:1-20.

Let Us Pray..... O' Heavenly Father.... I thank-you for all those gathered here this night. May you fill each .... with an overflowing presence ..... of your peace .... and your joy. ..... This night we remember..... the gift that you sent us ..... the gift ..... of your very own son. May we not only celebrate..... the night of our dear Saviors birth but may we treasure it always. We ask this in the name of Jesus... our Savior ..... and Our Lord. Amen!

In 1843 ..... Charles Dickens wrote a story

He called it ...... "A Christmas Carol."

And he prefaced the story ..... with these words. "

I have endeavored," he wrote, "in this Ghostly little book, ...... to raise the Ghost of an Idea ..... which shall not, I trust, ......put my readers out of humor with themselves, .... with each other, ..... with the season, ..... or with me.

He concluded......May it haunt their houses pleasantly."

And it has, .....It has haunted our houses, .....our bookshelves,..... our stages and our screens...... quite pleasantly .....for almost two centuries.

Over the years .....I have noticed something unique ..... about this Story:

Whenever I read it ......or see it played out, ...... Even though I know ...... the story well, ...... I always seem to hear something in it ..... something that touches .... my heart.

So this year, ...... as I was a seeking .....what I wanted to share this evening, ...... I was not surprised ...... to find my mind going back ..... to the ending of: "A Christmas Carol".

As you may recall.... After his hauntings ...... and his resolution to start a new life, ...... the narrator shares this about the change ...... that Scrooge experienced,:

The author writes: Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all and infinitely more. To Tiny Tim, who didn't die, he was a second father. He became.. as good a friend, as good a master, as good a man, As the good old city ever knew . And it was always said of him, that he knew how t keep Christmas well.

Is that what I do? ...Do I keep Christmas...well?

I have a feeling that many do not. Maybe we do not know how too.

Maybe we are a little selfish. So we do not "keep Christmas well."

Instead, we just "celebrate it.

We decorate. We cook. We wrap. We get together.

We unwrap. We eat. We un-decorate.

And then Christmas is gone until next year.

We celebrate Christmas yet , We do not hold on to it. We do not keep Christmas Well.

We do not allow Christmas to indwell us We do not let it transform us. We do not Treasure it as Mary did that Christmas Night. (Long Pause)

In Luke's account of the Christmas Story that was read this evening, ..... it is clear .... that Mary....Mary knows how..... to keep ......... Christmas.

In fact Luke describes Mary much in the same way that Dickens describes Scrooge after his transformation.

In the last lines of the Gospel reading this evening we hear these words ..... BIBLE "Mary treasured up all these things .... and pondered them in her heart." END


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