November 27, 2022
Wyo4News feature writer
This was how Charles Dickens chose to acquaint us with Ebenezer Scrooge. Dickens imagined such a hateful and despicable villain that redemption seemed impossible. Nonetheless, redemption is the purpose of the story.
Is it possible that life can be so crude, harsh, and cynical that we lose hope? Could a person become a shadow of their former self because of it? Christmas is a pretty good test of the state of our inner world. It may even be a shot at some sort of redemption.
I am not saying that if you don’t like Christmas, then you probably need mental help. (Likely, you have friends – in need of mental help – already telling you that.) There is certainly much to modern celebrations of the season that aren’t healthy. But what if Christmas is meant to be redemptive in nature? If you have any kind of Judao-Christian religious roots, you have been exposed to that idea. But seriously, who couldn’t use a visit from Christmas past, present, and future from time to time? Sure it would be uncomfortable, but it would keep us from wasting years of our lives on the wrong things.
We need Christmas because we need a season that has a different pace and purpose to it. Most of us are creatures of habit. Habits can be powerful, and they can be destructive. We often get trapped in cycles that demand too much from us. We get used to running full throttle, and then the throttle gets stuck.
There are seasons when it is necessary. Finishing your training, starting a new job, or having a new baby are seasons. Sometimes the only answer for them is lots of hard work. But, if you get stuck at that pace… Sooner or later, that leads to some kind of failure.
Christmas gives us a chance to run a new “routine.” Instead of the daily grind, we are able to make time for different things. We go to celebrations and programs and enjoy music. Christmas gives us a chance to do something different. It affords the opportunity to intentionally change our pace and focus. It has a way of transforming survival into joy. It can make the menial energetic and the tolerable enjoyable. That’s the spirit of the season. If you let it, it will alleviate the weight you have carried through the last year.
Scrooge resisted the season, he trudged from his dreary home to his dreary workplace. He spread all the accompanying “drear” he could as well. He was blinded by his own shadow. He saw no reason to participate in the rhythms of humanity, and he paid a much higher price than he realized.
So, have a little fun. Laugh a little, love a lot, and spend some time with some cool people. If you don’t like the way everyone else handles the season, try a new way. Find your own way into peace and stillness. There is a path toward redemption for all of us. You may even find that your religious roots are more helpful than you realized.
Keeping your nose to the grindstone makes sense sometimes, but not all the time. If we aren’t careful, we’ll lift our heads from decades of hard work to find we missed most of the good stuff. (I may be talking to myself there.)
I’m giving you permission to take a break, change your pace, or maybe even find a fresh start. If you can think of a lot of people who would not be okay with that, there’s your proof. (If you have that many people leaning on you that heavily, you should talk to someone. I’m serious, it’s not a good sign)
Slow down and enjoy. You’ll be glad you did. In fact, anyone who cares about you will be glad you did as well. Who knows, it could be you. You could be the one running through the streets. I see you now grinning ear to ear, shouting “Merry Christmas!” to anyone who will listen. Crazy, I know.
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