The Christmas season is officially upon us. We’ve had Black Friday and Cyber Monday and the lead story on many newscasts is about retail shopping. How much is being spent. Are the numbers better than last year. What does this mean for the recession.
Listening to the news after I came home from our rehearsal of “Scrooge” at the local community theatre last night, I realized that just like that old Ebeneezer Scrooge, we have our priorities all wrong. Maybe we need to be visited by some ghosts to point us back in the right direction.
I think this timeless story of redemption continues to be popular because it touches us deep inside where we know the true spirit of this season is about so much more than money and presents and keeping retail stores alive.
That is true, not just for Christmas and Christians , but for every religion, and even for people who don’t believe in God. This time of winter solstice is a time to reflect on what is important in life. Perhaps reconnect with family that we have been estranged from. Make decisions to live a better life. Be kinder to our neighbors and our enemies.
There are many holidays and religious observances throughout December: Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanza, Las Posadas, Winter Solstice, Ramadan (Nov or Dec) and the Hopi Soyaluna Ceremony. There may be more, but this is what my Internet search turned up. The main thing all these observances have in common is that they celebrate family, promote helping others, and encourage self-improvement. The giving and receiving of presents isn’t even mentioned in all of them, and those that do include that tradition base it on the fact that presents are tokens of love and good wishes. The actual value of the gift means nothing.
So maybe we should all take a lesson from Scrooge as he pleads with the third spirit, “Tell me that I can change these dreadful shadows you’ve shown me by an altered life! I’ll honor Christmas in my heart! I’ll – I’ll try to keep it all the year. I’ll live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. And I’ll not shut out the lessons that they teach…”