On one particular Christmas day, sitting around the lunch table, Grandma asked for volunteers to say grace. Five year old Matthew - generally a very quiet boy – offered to pray. This is how it went:
“Thank you, God, for all the gifts we got, and for all the ones we’re going to get!”
Little Matthew had a lot of growing up to do before he would grasp the meaning of Christmas as expressed by another quiet guy in a fine public statement long ago - President Calvin Coolidge.
“Silent Cal”, as he was familiarly known, received his nickname due to his reticent nature and brevity of speech. But one Christmas day, he reached the hearts and minds of a nation with this: “Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and good will, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.” (Quoted in "How Christmas Came to Be," by Victor M. Parachin, The Christian Science Monitor, December 21, 2000)
I think the following words of Mary Baker Eddy capture the spirit of Christmas expressed by President Coolidge. “What we most need is the prayer of fervent desire for growth in grace, expressed in patience, meekness, love and good deeds.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 4)
Little Matthew may be all grown up, but he is still known as the silent type. What is so special is, he has grown to live naturally the qualities of grace, illustrating by his actions - more than just words - that grace is the expression of divine good.
Just ask his neighbors. During a snowstorm, he is the first to get out his shovel and help them get unstuck. After a hurricane, he is always ready to grab his saw and look for opportunities to help clear roads and driveways.
Patience, meekness, love, good deeds may often appear silently, but the expression of these spiritual qualities ring out the Christmas blessing of “On earth peace, good-will toward men” throughout the year. (Luke 2:14)