Christmas is awesome. There are so many things to love about it - the list of course goes on and on, but one of the things I love the most is it seems to lend itself to reflection. Perhaps it's the cool air and seemingly innate instinct to kind of hunker down in Winter that encourages one to pause, and respond to the most-recent year's (or at least some past-years') events.
I spent the better part of an hour last night lying in bed just sitting, thinking, remembering, and replaying some of the thoughts that surround Christmas in my mind. Primarily, I was trying to pin-point why Christmas is so special. For some odd reason, during this process, my thoughts fixated on some of my favorite Christmas movies. The one film that stood out in particular was the disney version of "A Christmas Carrol." I would assume that most people are at least vaguely familiar with the character of Ebenezer Scrooge (from what was originally a Charles Dickens novel). I was struck because it seems the "spirits" which visit Scrooge in the story were in fact similar to what was happening to me - I was remembering the pleasantries of Christmases past, glowing in the joy of Christmas present, and wondering what kind of traditions and memories do I want to make a part of my Christmases future.
That was cool.
Taking that thought process a bit further, I realized that the conversion that Scrooge experiences in the story is one not unlike a conversion I know I could benefit from. Although I (at least) hope I am not as completely self-absorbed as Mr. Scrooge, I am certainly willing to admit that self-absorption is a tendency that I am enticed by. I certainly would not mean to suggest that doing things in one's own best interest would be inappropriate. However, I do mean to suggest that self-absorption does not have to begin and end those who are poor/less-fortunate (as it is in the story), but I can easily be self-absorbed with regard to all of those people with whom I interact daily.
No, I don't think I ever will have that Scrooge-like dramatic journey which leads to my repentance for years of cruelty, but the profound catharsis through which Ebenezer Scrooge learned how to live for others and not only for himself is one to consider. By simply breaking the circle of his ego, he had enabled the light of the message of Christmas to invade his soul and change him into a new man filled with joy and hope.
That message of conversion in itself if one worth contemplating. However, since Christmas is traditionally a Christian Holiday, I encouraged myself to take the message delivered by Mr. Scrooge one step further. His conversion, and hopefully the many small ones which I will undergo throughout my life, are modeled most poignantly by what Christmas was at its inception. It was a God who in the most pragmatic of ways deflected Her ego and had at Her interest the needs of all of us. James Farfaglia wrote...
- "... if our greatest need had been knowledge, God would have sent us an educator. Had that greatest need been technology, God would have sent us a scientist. So too had our greatest need been for money, God would have sent us an economist. Had our greatest need been for pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer. Because our greatest need was for forgiveness, God sent us a Savior."
... and through this, demonstrated the exact type of love that we need most and the type we are called to by the Christian celebration of Christmas. And thus it is with this understanding of Scrooge's conversion that I will look forward to the "Christmases future" with hope. That I will be able to continue to recognize that I do have a tendency to be self consuming, but that I will also know to continually remind myself how to direct my love and outward.
As always, thanks for reading :) A very special Merry Christmas to you all. AMDG