One of my favorite stories for the holidays is "A Christmas Carol" written by Charles Dickens. Since childhood, I have been
fascinated by the ghosts of past, present and future, and the humanization of a man who thought better of himself than he really was
and how humble he became by the end of the story. Even the name Scrooge conjures up scary, dark images of greed and pride that
made him such a bitter man he was portrayed as in the beginning of the story.
If the ghost of Christmas past were to visit you today, how different is your life now compared to years gone by, and was it better or
worse then what you experience now? Of course, as a single parent, I have endured some lean holidays, but felt truly blessed by
each one of them, and felt the most content and happy enjoying the company around me rather than fighting the mob at the local
The ironic thing about the story of Scrooge is how he denied himself of many pleasures, being extremely stingy with basic comforts
such as heat and light and rest, all in the name of money. He could actually afford those things he denied himself and those around
him, but choose to find joy in his own misery. He even spoke rudely to those seeking monetary help for those less fortunate, saying
"are there no prisons," when he was living in his own prison.
As the story unfolds, we learn that he was shunned by his father, but made good friends and even enjoyed quite a few holidays and
even had a true love at one time. Somewhere along the way, he focused more on monetary value than the value of love and
friendship, becoming desensitized by those who could benefit from his presence of heart and mind.
This doesn't seem to be much different than today's society that puts value in how much stuff one can have and consume, rather than
looking around and sharing the abundance and reaping the blessings that giving can bestow on one's spirit. Looking back, those
Christmases as a single parent where I had to be creative and find ways to give to my son and those around me were the best, not so
much how much was spent on the gift. Times when I gave of myself unselfishly without thinking about what I didn't have gave me a
new perspective on what was really important.
This time of year, it is easy to get caught up in the hoopla of buying presents, eating lots of goodies, and attending lots of holiday
functions. In that schedule, are there moments of quiet reflection, giving of the heart? Beyond the usual family traditions, is there
room for giving the gift of time and friendship to someone who might need it?
"Therefore I tell you, not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more
important than food, and the body more important than clothes?" (Matthew 6:25)
Share your life with someone who might need you this Christmas, whether that is a single parent, an elderly shut-in or someone
whose spirit needs a lift. Open your eyes as you are doing your holiday shopping to what is really important and be prepared to
enjoy blessings of a new or renewed tradition that will warm your heart and get rid of the old Scrooge in you!