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One of my favorite Christmas stories is A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. In it we have a miser named Scrooge who not only doesn’t know the meaning of Christmas but goes out of his way to make everyone as miserable as he is. He is visited by a ghost and three spirits of Christmas, the past, present, and future. After this experience he is a changed man, Charles Dickens wrote in his epilogue that if there was anyone who could keep Christmas the whole year through it was Scrooge. Marley, the ghost that visited Scrooge, explained that wealth and our endeavors aren’t our business in this world; instead our business is the common good, charity, love, joy and peace. This is the true spirit of Christmas that Scrooge learned and was able to carry with him year round. Can that be said of us today?
In olden times, Christmas didn’t stop on Christmas Day. Instead Christmas had twelve full days of festivals and celebrations that ended on Twelve Night with the coming of the wise men. We still celebrate this concept today in the Christmas Carol of the Twelve Days. In the song a gift is given to mark the day and the love shared. For someone like Scrooge who had through his experience of the Christmas Spirit become a living Christmas Carol we could rename his song the Twelve Months of Christmas. And I would like to challenge us all to be that type of Christmas Carol year round. Making our community the focus of our business and bringing a gift to each month of the coming year.
I suggest that in the coming year we bring something each month to those around us. In the first month of next year I would like to challenge us to bring love to others. In our community that is sometimes filled with hatred or worse yet apathy let us strive to be instruments of love. The second month of Christmas let us bring to the community the gift of joy, but don’t forget to continue to add the voice of love. In the Twelve Days, although a new gift is added each day the other gifts are repeated in the chorus, so we should not forget the other gifts of Christmas. So where there is sadness in our community let us strive to be instruments of joy helping people through the hard times. For many of you, you may know where I am heading with the other fruits of the spirit; peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Add to this forgiveness and hope and you have a full eleven months, which brings us back to Christmas and the final gift which is innocence, this purity of spirit is the very fiber of Christmas.
Can you imagine a world that is Christmas everyday? It all begins with one individual; it all begins with one Scrooge who decides to be a living Christmas Carol. Merry Christmas and God bless us, everyone, so we can be blessing to everyone.