Photo by Spencer Backman on Unsplash
We've made it through another year. Pandemic, a threatening recession, and political turmoil may have bloodied our noses and given us a lot to be thankful for at the end of the year, but it hasn't broken America yet. We're still going, and we're going strong.
Think back to 2020; all of the bitterness, unhappiness, and unrest that we were seeing. The pandemic forced us indoors and made the time go by so slowly, as we waited for the chance to be with our friends again; or just experience something as innocent as a movie theater on the night of an exciting premiere.
This Holiday season is different -- and it even feels different than it has in many years. People are beginning to see how selfishness and misplaced anger allowed us to forget our better natures. To forget the kindness this season inspires and the hope it grants us as the year dies and is reborn with a new opportunity; for us to show the best things that live in our hearts.
When your New Year's resolutions come around, maybe this would be a good year to look at what we have gained and lost in the last year -- the hurdles we've overcome, the tests we've failed, and what they both taught us. Instead of proclaiming sweeping change, maybe this is the year that we take a close look at the message of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol."
There's a Broadway version of the Charles Dickens classic tale playing at the Fort Myers Theater from December 10th to the 19th. It's one of the most widely-adapted stories ever in literature, with hundreds of versions from both television and films. It's a timeless ghost story: a seemingly heartless spinster is visited by the ghost of his deceased partner, who warns him of an unhappy afterlife because of his pursuit of money, above all else. Through the night, an at-first-disbelieving Ebeneezer meets the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. And as he experiences the joy he used to know and has long denied others (and himself), we discover that Ebenezer does indeed have a heart. But when it was broken by the death of his dear sister, he lost his way and forgot to be the loving friend, relative, and neighbor he was meant to be.
When most people talk about Ebenezer, they speak of him as the greedy, selfish character at the beginning of the story. And I think that's a symptom of how the story manages to reach so many without touching their lives. Without believing in the miracle of divine intervention and the threat of an early grave, people fail to see the transformation that takes place. They fail to see the way his heart opened again to see his sister and the one great love of his life again, and how he failed to be the kind of man to his employee that his sister, his love, and his former boss had been to him.
The story of Ebenezer Scrooge isn't about a rich man giving away all his money. In almost every version of the story, Ebenezer stays a very wealthy man. Ebenezer doesn't hate himself for the things he acquires or the money he collects. But he becomes much kinder with it and has empathy for those in need again.
Perhaps this year, we should stop to consider the kind of neighbor, friend, and relative we are. Fear has been such a huge part of our lives for the last two years. Maybe, we are in a place where we can remember before heartbreaks and upsets to become the best versions of ourselves and remember to carry Christmas all year round in our hearts again. Maybe it won't last, but it's worth a shot.
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