Chesterton on Waiting for Christmas Print
Written by Sherry   
Wednesday, 17 December 2008 20:35
I thought I would mark the last week of Advent with excerpts from my much cherished collection of G.K. Chesterton Christmas essays and poems.

As Maisie Ward wrote:

"Some men, it may be, are best moved to reform by hate, but Chesterton was best moved by love and nowhere does that love shine more clearly than in all he wrote about Christmas.

Here's a most appropriate one for a Wednesday in Advent.

"There is no more dangerous or disgusting habit than that of celebrating Christmas before it comes, as I am doing in this article It is the very essence of a festival that it breaks upon one brilliantly and abruptly, that at one moment the great day is not and the next the great day is.

Up to a certain specific instant you are feeling ordinary and sad; for it is only Wednesday. At the next moment your heart leaps up and your soul and body dance together like lovers; for in one burst and blaze it has become Thursday. I am assuming (of course) that you are a worshipper of Thor, and that you celebrate his day once a week, possibly with human sacrifice. If, on the other hand, you are a modern Christian Englishman, you hail (of course) with the same explosion of gaity the appearance of the English Sunday.

Snip.

And all the old wholesome customs in connection with Christmas were to the effect that one should not touch o see or know or speak of something before the actual coming of Christmas Day. Thus, for instance, children were never given their presents until the actualy coming of the appointed hour. The presents were kept tied up in brown-paper parcels, out of which an arm of a doll or the leg of a donkey sometimes accidently stuck.

I wish this principle were adopted in respect of modern Christmas ceremonies and publications. Expecially it ought to be observed in connection with what are called the Christmas numbers of magazines. The editors of the magazines bring out their Christmas numbers so long before the time that the reader is more likely to be still lamenting for the turkey of last year than to have seriously settled down to a solid anticipation of the turkey which is to come.

Christmas numbers of magazines ought to be tied up in brown paper and kept for Christmas Day. On consideration, I should favour the editors being tied up in brown paper. Whether the arm or leg of an editor should ever be allowed to protrude I leave to individual choice."