Without presuming to speak for the human race, but claiming what authority membership bestows, let it be said that there is no time when people are more susceptible to otherworldly interactions than at Christmas time. Marking the greatest spiritual advent in history, the aura and traditions of Christmas have been alive with ghosts ever since—making Mr. Chesterton’s “The Shop of Ghosts” most welcome as a warm yet shivering parable about Christmas spirits.
By contrast to the other seasons, Christmas is the most merrily haunted season, and it is in this contrast that Christmas must be appreciated. Appreciation for anything is best acquired through appreciable experience of its opposite. It is the man who comes in from the cold blast who is most blessed by the fire’s heat. The merits of any feast are augmented by the memory of a fast. The precious miracle of life is reinforced by the somber sense of death. Such extremes define the margins of Christmas, which has ever dwelt upon diametric compliments, such as winter and warmth, the homeless and the homestead, peasants and kings, life and death, God and man. It is in the spirit of these paradoxes that the Prince of Paradox, Gilbert Keith Chesterton, tells his strange Christmas ghost story showing that the immortality of Christmas is a miracle because it is dying.Father Christmas in Chesterton’s Shop of Ghosts