Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol” is my favorite Christmas story. I may be Jewish, and only celebrate the secular aspects of the holiday with my Catholic husband, gentile friends and co-workers, but I can appreciate Dickens’s lesson about the importance of charity and goodwill. I also admire how the plot unfolds, detailing how Scrooge changes his ways after being given a second chance and that he goes on to transform the lives of others for the better.
At the beginning of “A Christmas Carol,” a greedy and tightfisted Mr. Scrooge, says, “If I could work my will, every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. He should!”
I admit to exuding that “Bah, humbug,” kind-of-feeling when I’m stuck in a busy shopping mall or department store, frantically seeking the perfect holiday gifts, navigating through messy displays and fellow grumpy shoppers. Then I return home, anticipate seeing friends and relatives, and enjoy wrapping those gifts while nibbling on goodies that expand my waistline.
And like Scrooge, who transforms into a kindly person at the end of Dickens’s masterpiece, I hope to maintain a cheerful demeanor into the following year.
Scrooge promises, “I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me.’’
Since I came (back) to the Courier last June, I find there are many in this community who work to improve the lives of people all year round. There are too many organizations – including churches, schools, businesses, social service groups, civic clubs, government entities, etc. – to name here, but the countless food, clothing and toy drives we cover keep my news staff on their toes, especially in November and December.
We, at the Courier, try to highlight these devoted volunteers, and the organizations that strive to improve the lives of their fellow residents – children, adults, seniors, veterans, soldiers and their dependents – from January through December. We are a socially conscious group, and want to do our part to help our neighbors.
And besides, at Christmas, we call a truce with our staunchest critics. Even Mr. Fishwrap called to wish us all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. His latest Sound Off message will run in our Wednesday, Dec. 26, issue.
We return the sentiment – may he, and all of you, have a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year, and blessings all the year through. As Tiny Tim would say, “God bless us, every one!”
Etheridge is the editor of the Coastal Courier. She and her husband have two grown children, the most beautiful granddaughter in the world, a teddy bear of a rescue dog, a grumpy old cat that guards the house, and a young agile cat that pesters the grumpy one.