I’m pretty much a traditionalist when it comes to this time of year.
Church on Christmas morning. Even getting used to cooking Christmas dinner for extended family and enjoying it. This was my thirtieth year of cooking Christmas dinner but for the first 28, the invitation was limited to immediately family. I guess Isobel is changing me.
Reading the opening chapters of the gospels of Matthew and Luke and still finding some hope there. The good intention of helping the poor and homeless by using whatever natural gifts I was given to make a difference to someone’s situation.
Listening to Bob Dylan’s Christmas in the Heart; Jethro Tull’s Christmas album (and the recording of their carol concert, that I helped to cause happen a couple of years ago, at St Bride’s to raise money for the aforementioned homeless); Bob and Hilary James’ Christmas in the Heart; Alexander Zonjic’s Pipers’ Holiday.
And reading the short stories of Charles Dickens. This year it was the “Battle of Life” (very good but didn’t affect me nearly as much as reading “The Haunted Man” last December) and “The Christmas Carol”.
Reading “The Christmas Carol” again reminds that Ebenezer Scrooge wasn’t born a wicked, chiselling miser but he became one because of his decisions. And very often those decisions were brought about by the bad that was done to him.
Reading about Scrooge abandoned at boarding school and forbidden by his father even to come home at Christmastime reminded me of some of the wounds that were placed on me as a child. And when you are hurt your temptation is to hurt those around you. And that’s what I did.
But something jerked me out of that direction when I was about 19 – though even that came with a deal of pain.
The passage that touched me most in my reading of “Christmas Carol” was the section in Stave 2 where Scrooge is abandoned by his fiancé:
She sees in him “a changed nature, an altered spirit, another atmosphere of life, another Hope as its great end. In abandoning (everything) that made my love of any worth or value in your sight. If this (contract) had never been between us ….tell me, would you seek me out and try to win me now?”
I hope that as life is changing my nature (as it inevitably changes us all) that I am becoming a better person.