In my house, the Christmas season doesn’t officially begin until we have watched “A Muppet Christmas Carol.” There is something magical that happens when you add The Muppets to, well, just about anything as far as I’m concerned. What's great is that my kids are now at an age where they too enjoy sitting down and watching Kermit and company act out this classic story.
Beyond the fun of the Penguin Skating Party, Fozziwig’s Annual Christmas Party and the adventures of Rizzo the Rat (“Light the lamp, not the rat!”), there is of course Gonzo the Great’s Charles Dickens’ wonderful story of Ebenezer Scrooge and his awakening to the true meaning of Christmas. After being visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come, Scrooge, a greedy and heartless moneylender, comes to realize the need for him to change his ways and vows to lead a better life:
"I am not the man I was. I will not be the man I must have been but for this intercourse. Why show me this, if I am past all hope!...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.”
In many ways, the story of A Christmas Carol continues to be lived out in our community. I’m sure we’ve all run across a few Scrooges, who seem blind to the plight of those less fortunate in our community. These modern-day Scrooges would prefer to live their life ignorant to the struggles that some are facing. Thankfully, our community is also full of Bob Cratchits and other kind and caring souls.
At Christmas time, many local charities are flooded by requests from people who would like to give back over the holiday, whether it be by making a donation or volunteering to serve a holiday meal to those in need in our community. While these contributions are to be celebrated, we must remember that the need that exists in our community is not seasonal. If you weren't able to find a volunteer opportunity over the holiday season, why not consider volunteering a few months from now?
So, with some inspiration from A Christmas Carol, my Christmas wish is this… May we all embrace the spirit of Christmas and keep it with us throughout the whole year. May those who seem indifferent to the fate of those less fortunate have their eyes and hearts opened. Treasure the wonder of Christmas seen in the eyes of children, enjoy the closeness of family, the laughter of friends and be sure to share the joy of the season with those around you. And, may you all have a safe and Merry Christmas, Hanukkah, Ramadan, Kwaanza, Festivus, Winter Solstice, or whatever you choose to celebrate this holiday season. See you in the New Year!
Tim Osborne is the Director, Community Building and Investment for United Way of the Alberta Capital Region