Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Reflections

Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol
After watching Charles Dickens 1938 rendition of A Christmas Carol, I wondered: What would the spirits show me?

If you have never seen any version of A Christmas Carol then you should definitely check it out, whether it is the newest version of A Christmas Carol with Jim Carrey (2009), The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992), or one of my favorites Scrooged (1988). It's not too late, rent it, watch it, and let it touch your soul.

The story follows Ebeneezer Scrooge, a filthy rich old man who has made his money by greed. He treats his employee, Bob Cratchit horribly. Scrooge, while he never married, his only remaining relative is his nephew. In the opening sequence you will get the picture of how Scrooge alienates himself and doesn't want to be bothered by people. Until... he's visited Christmas Eve night by his old business partner, Jacob Marley. Marley's ghost presents himself as a warning to Scrooge. But, Scrooge scoffs at Marley and does not heed his warnings. This is when Marley tells Scrooge that he will be visited by three spirits. Those spirits are Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Future.

Now that we've had the refresher - back to what I was originally contemplating: What would the spirits show me?

Scenes from Christmas Past

Looking back on my past Christmases they have always been filled with family and loved ones. I know I am blessed with those memories. My mother went out of her way to make sure that my sister and I had an enjoyable Christmas morning, filled with tearing of Christmas paper, holiday tunes filled the air, and my parent's always sat on the couch together looking like they had partied the night before. 

Another Christmas tradition that I remember growing up with was that at every family Christmas dinner my uncle would make his rounds video recording all the Aunts, Uncles and cousins that were there. Around this time of year I always think of those times and how wonderful it would be if we could watch the video's. Especially now since all of the children within those old movies are now grown, most of them having families of their own now.

Kaleb with his stocking - Christmas 2011
Last Christmas I have wonderful memories of my son Kaleb, smiling while we assisted him with opening his gifts, and trying to makes sure he experienced the holiday's too. He never really was into opening gifts, probably due to his sensory issues or his inability to manipulate his arms or hands to tear through the gifts. But, I think he just loved the Spirit of Christmas and sharing the quality of times together. Now, we placed a swag and Christmas decorations upon his grave site. At least we have the memories...

What Comes of Christmas Present

Cookie Baking 2013
This year, while it has been difficult since I lost my son this past October, I have tremendous support through family and friends. Like the crooner Bing Crosby says in White Christmas (1954), I'm counting my blessings instead of sheep. I remember growing up Christmas was such a magical time of year, while this charm wore off as I matured, I still feel the tingling of remembrance of that child-within's enthusiasm. While I may not have children of my own now to celebrate the season with, I have been blessed to spend a lot of time with my two nieces. 

This year, the day before Christmas Eve we worked hard baking cookies so that we have our family's favorite - sugar cookies - for Christmas dinner. I had seen them the night before too for another tradition of driving around looking at Christmas lights. Being around children this time of year always warms my heart. My heart is still healing from our loss but the band-aide holding it together is love.

Projections for Christmas Future

While I do not know, nor will I pretend to understand God's will, for my future. I can only put-out-there and project what I could foresee for my Christmas future. Whatever it may be, I sincerely pray that I continue to be blessed with family and great, loving, and filled with laughter - cherished times and memories. Since this past year was such a difficult one, I pray that by next Christmas I can regain what has been lost. I know life is not about material things - but they're still nice to have; such as a home and a car.

Every Christmas, one of my favorite things to do is to Christmas shop. I know that this really stresses some people out, I look forward to finding gifts for the important people in my life. I think a gift should be the demonstration that you have been listening and you do understand that relationship, to the effect that the gift is a demonstration of friendship. Not that gifts are necessarily needed - but, if you do exchange, then they should mean more than just picking something up at the store.

The True Meaning of Christmas

Of course the meaning of Christmas has nothing to do with gifts - it is the proverbial gift of giving yourself. The true meaning of Christmas is found within the innocence of a baby in a manger. That God loved each and every single person on this earth so much, that he sacrificed his only Son, Jesus, so that we can live. This may not be your belief - but, it is mine. The meaning of Christmas to me is representative of God's love. In this divine love, we share each other and cherish His gifts within our lives.

Some people argue that Christmas was strategically calculated during this time of year in order to extinguish the pagan winter solstice. Easter we celebrate the birth of Jesus and Christmas is a reminder of God's continued love through out the year and years to come. Whatever your religion or belief may be - from my family to yours - we wish you the happiest of holiday's!

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