Almost everyone has heard of the story, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and many agree with the sentiments that are expressed of caring for others and not ending up a Scrooge. But what is really strange is we forget when it comes to our Christmases that we shouldn't try to out-do the gift thing, or get caught up in the craziness that drives the secular Christmas machine every year.
For me it took losing a job a few years ago to realize what matters, and now with my whole family simply getting by with the depression that Michigan has been experiencing for the past few years we've come to share more time together and enjoy the fun of game night. We're changing, and I hope we don't lose it ever again.
You see I'm an English teacher who got to do research on the times that, A Christmas Carol was written in and they were the poorest and some of the most non-caring times in Great Britain's history. Scrooge pretty much epitomized the wealthy class' view of the poor and downtrodden. Because Dickens had a footing in both worlds and had experienced extreme poverty during his childhood he saw the need to some how make the wealthy aware of their moral responsibilities to those around them.
But if you know anything about the story and Dickens, you know it really began not as one to make people aware, but simply to tell a story and to share the idea of Christmas which in years before had not been much of a celebration. His celebration centered around love of family, friends, and the world around.
Today, we all are losing wealth and it's happening all over the country - now, somehow we need to get back to that feeling of sharing an evening with the people we know, work with, and love in these hard times. Christmas is a religious holiday that is a celebration of God's entrance into the world among us. Personally, I think that simply sharing a love with each other with "no strings" is a great way to be that love of God in the world. It really all can start with just caring for someone else. (And yes, I am a bit passionate about this!)