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Christmas time gives opportunity for reflection, change
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Chris H. Brower as Ebenezer Scrooge in Hale Center Theater Orem's production of "A Christmas Carol." - photo by Amy Choate-Nielsen
Ebenezer Scrooge, I understand you.

You were a practical, no-nonsense kind of guy, you worked hard, and Christmastime freaked you out a little bit. I get it. When I read Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol, it always makes me cry and not because of Tiny Tim.

Its because of you, Scrooge.

Because when you say, Whats Christmastime to you but a time for paying bills without money, a time for finding yourself a year older, and not an hour richer, I feel you. I feel older and poorer this time of year, too. And I dont like driving in heavier traffic, battling more people at the store or waiting in longer lines at the gas pump. Its a terrible thing to say, but Christmastime seems to make those things happen, and I dont like it.

So I see what youre saying, Scrooge. Humbug, right?

A lot can go wrong at Christmastime.

First, theres the light. It gets so dark and cold in December, and sometimes you cant help feeling like time is just slipping away. Nothing changes from Dec. 31 to Jan. 1, as far as the cold and darkness go, but there is a difference in feeling like the final grains of sand in the hourglass are slipping away vs. the wholeness and hope the potential of a bright new year can bring. Being alone in January is one thing, but feeling lonely in December is twice as bitter.

Then there are the crowds of people who come out this time of year, and the pressing feeling of stress and the brake lights and people in a hurry that come with it.

High expectations are a problem. And maybe you have lists of people to shop for. Maybe you get frustrated that you dont know what to get those people, or you dont have time or money to get what they do want. Or you know your kids will have changed their mind about what they did want when you bought their present as soon as Christmas morning comes, and you know everyone will just be disappointed.

Thats enough to make anyone feel like Scrooge, Scrooge.

But you know, theres a lot that can go right at this time of year, too, isnt there?

Theres a lot that can go right only at this time of year.

As your nephew said with Dickens words, I am sure I have always thought of Christmastime, when it has come around as a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.

If there is any time of year to look past the cold and see outside of our loneliness, Christmastime is it. If there is a time to look at our fellow travelers to the grave and see them as brothers and sisters, now is it. And if there is a time to set a light to diminish some of the darkness that abounds, now is it.

You get a bad name, Scrooge, for being selfish and cold-hearted and withholding. You couldnt see other peoples distress, and you rejected your only family. But I think your triumph was going from that place of darkness to a place of light. You had your reasons for becoming the way you did, but as soon as you saw a better way, you changed.

Your story teaches that Christmastime is a chance to change. I feel for Tiny Tim and the goodness he had in his heart, but its your story that makes me weep. Its your story I want to remember.

Now, at this time of year, with the final sands of the year drifting through the hourglass, now is the time to teach my children and learn from my parents to be more like Scrooge: better than his word.

As Dickens said, He did it all, and infinitely more.