Each year I write a Christmas blog. Each year I’m full of hope. Each year I’m glad to be alive and each year I pray the world will get a little better.
One of the most told stories at Christmas, second only to the Gospel’s nativity, is ‘A Christmas Carol’. This Dickensian classic, tells the story of individual reformation by a certain Ebeneza Scrooge whose life is transformed by the visitation of three ghosts. The story has always intrigued me because it has so many timeless messages and because of a personal reformation of my own.
Dickens wrote the book at a time when England had forgotten the spirit of Christmas and the treatment of the poor by the upper classes was at its most heartless. I suspect it was a ‘pricking of the Country’s conscious’ and its ability to awaken our deepest awareness is still impacting and effective today. I wonder what Dickens might have made of today? What, in the year 2010, might he have written that could have begun the process of transformation for us twenty first century occupants of planet earth?
In the majority, people are wonderful. Sadly, many are driven by wanting more than they need, some are fixed on the desire to be absolutely powerful, some are unreasonable when they cannot achieve what they want, but in the main, people when push comes to shove, are kind and humane. As one of the world’s audience I’m grateful for that. As a whispering voice in a sea of shouts, I’m grateful for where I live and the love of my relations and friends.
But what does Dickens say to me today that can make my Christmas brighter? In every reading ‘A Christmas Carol’ seems to inspire new thoughts and this year on Dicken’s birthday, I’d like to put my spin on it for 2010.
The story is based on three important pretext; the past, the present and the future. When Scrooge is taken back and looks at how things were, then taken forward to how things must be, he is somehow stirred into an understanding of his own mortality. He stops long enough to glimpse a backward glance and realise that for all of us the future awaits, but it is in the present that we must all live and earn our future.
I mentioned earlier my own revealing moment, one I have seldom discussed except with my loved ones. I, like Scrooge have faced our greatest fear and have thankfully, learned that there is no such thing as ‘an ordinary moment’. I no longer live for yesterday or tomorrow – I am here now and it is in this nano second that is my most beautiful moment.
It is not good enough to wish away a single second, as if tomorrow will be better. It is not sufficient to wish for happiness. Happiness is not conditional, it is within us and all we have to do is draw it out. Simply put, be happy!
We do not need to lift ourselves with artificial inducements and chemical compounds to achieve a high. Get ‘high on life’!
Is this indulgent, self effacing, have I become a social crusader? The answer is a resounding ‘No!’ But now I understand the message that Dickens was sending. And in a world so complex what we as individuals can do to bring joy to others and in the doing so bring joy to ourselves.
I wish for you many great moments of Christmas and of 2011. I hope you will stop, stand, and for just a moment take in the things that surround you.
That you will, like a child again wonder at them, see the brightest colours in them and discover the little things which the speed of the day denies. That you will see your friends in love and your enemies in a fresh light and not a renewed darkness. I wish for you the sweet smells of Christmas and a moment to savour them. I wish you safe travel and the joy of children’s happiness. And through it all I hope the story of Christmas is your story and because of it the ghosts of Dickens may never have need to visit you, so you may always remember what a wonderful world we can make, if we but try. Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday.