In Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol,” (or better yet, in Bill Murray’s version “Scrooged,”) we are told of a story of Ebenezer Scrooge. Ebenezer was a real “bah humbug” of a man. This was true every day of every year. But it was especially true at Christmas.
We all know the story well. Ebenezer Scrooge is a penny pinching miser who reluctantly grants his underpaid clerk Bob Cratchit a day off so he can spend Christmas Day with his family. On Christmas Eve Scrooge is visited by the tormented ghost of his deceased business partner, Jacob Marley, who warns Scrooge of the error of his ways, and calls on him to change. Marley tells Scrooge he’ll be visited by three ghosts who show him the past, present, and future. After these encounters, in which Scrooge takes a walk down memory lane, gets a glimpse of present sufferings, and his ultimate sad demise, as well as the fate of Tiny Tim, Scrooge experiences a transformation of heart, finds redemption, embraces Christmas, and finds a new life.
Christmas Can Be Hard
Christmas can be a rough time of year for many people. There’s a lot of sadness and pain baked into the season. Some of our Christmas songs even reflect this. Have you noticed the number of breakup and lost love type songs out there? Even Taylor Swift cashed in on it a few times. Christmas can be a tough time, as people do everything from struggling to put presents under the tree for Christmas, reflect upon broken relationships, mourn the loss of loved ones, or even spend the holiday alone.
As a result of these things, it’s no wonder people sorta identify with Scrooge at this time of year. While the rest of the world celebrates the holiday season, a lot of people withdraw from the festivities altogether. And I understand why people do this. The holiday can be one with much pain instead of joy.
This year I am faced with a challenge regarding Christmas. It’s my first Christmas without my wife. Christmas was a big thing for us as a couple. We had special annual traditions unique to us. And each year we’d buy more and more outdoor Christmas ornamentation for the house. We were starting to approach Clark Griswold level decorations, and our house was the most decorated house on the block.
So what am I doing this year? It’s something I’ve personally wrestled with, and is something I’ve talked to my therapist and support group about. I’ve been tempted to do nothing. There’s the temptation to go “Bah Humbug” about the entire thing.
Saying No To “Bah Humbug”
But instead of shunning the Christmas season I’ve decided to fully embrace it. And I’ve decided to embrace it, because I ultimately see this Christmas season like any other season of life we are faced with.
Life is full of different seasons. We all go through a variety of phases in our life in which things aren’t liked they used to be. Just as the rotation of the Earth around the Sun produces changes in the world around us, we go through a variety of changes in life. And as much as you might prefer the Spring over Summer, or Fall over Winter, no matter what season we are experiencing wherever we live, in order to thrive, we must embrace the time of year we are ultimately find ourselves. Wear a winter jacket in July, and you’ll cook to death outside. Wear shorts in sub freezing temperatures, and you’ll eventually suffer a cold fate.
So for me this year, I’ve decided to embrace the Christmas season this year. It’ll be a bit different for sure. But I’ve put up a Christmas tree and some decorations around my new place. I’m throwing a little Christmas party and smoking some brisket for friends. And I’m regularly listening to Christmas music on Spotify.
I’ve decided I’m going to embrace the Christmas season like I do all the seasons of the rest of the year, or any other season I go through in life. For failing to embrace the season I’m in, whether it be Christmas or some other time, would be the ultimate death of me. I may not like all the changes I’m going through in life and where I’m at in regard to my life in the present moment. But our ability to thrive in life as human beings is to be found in our ability embrace the the changing of the seasons, to adapt to our environment, and to ultimately move forward in whatever time we find ourselves in. And if we don’t embrace that season, there’s the chance we may ultimately suffer the possible fate that Ebenezer Scrooge saw regarding his life.
Merry Christmas everyone.