Friday Musings: A Christmas Carol
We’re all familiar with the story. Ebenezer Scrooge is a stingy, nasty man who brings nothing but unhappiness into the lives of everyone associated with him. He is unable to find joy anywhere, even at Christmas. But he wasn’t always that way. There was a time in his life when he did know joy and he was well-loved by many people. He is in desperate need of a wake-up call, and so the universe delivers one in the form of three ghosts who come to visit him on Christmas Eve. They are, of course, Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Future.
There are several modern day versions of this same story. Among my favorites is The Family Man with Nicholas Cage and Téa Leoni, a movie that we watched as a family on Christmas Eve for many years as our kids got to be a little bit older. The central question of the film holds true to Dickens’ original story: if you were given a glimpse of your future and you knew what you needed to change about your present that’s somehow related to a decision you made in the past, would you have the courage to do it? Wow, that’s a complicated sentence. I’m so tempted to diagram it. Right after I finish this post.
Unfortunately we are not Scrooge or Nicholas Cage and our opportunity to see the error of our ways will not be given to us by visiting spirits. That’s something that we have to create for ourselves by taking a moment to sit down and truly reflect on where we are and where we’re headed. We need to conjure up our own Ghost of Christmas Past and allow ourselves to consider that pivotal moment when we chose one road over another. We all have one. What could we have done differently that would have changed the course of our lives? The answer can go one of two ways. Either we look back on that moment and are grateful that we didn’t choose the wrong path, or we’re regretful and wish that we could alter our present circumstances. It’s a valuable exercise either way. As for Christmas Present, take stock and ask yourself how comfortable you’d be flying around with a fat, jolly spirit in a beautiful robe to drop in and listen on conversations other people are having about you. Do you have a clue as to what they’d be saying? If that idea that terrifies you then it might mean that you do know and there’s reason to be worried. What can you change to bring more joy into other people’s lives? Is that even a question that you’ve ever entertained? If it isn’t, then it probably should be. For all of us. Imagine what we could make of this world if we all asked ourselves that question every day. And finally, what do you want your future to look like? And how can you get there? There’s a reason why Christmas Yet to Come is the most frightening of the three spirits. The future can be scary, and the road to get there can be tricky. Set your intentions right now, figure out your path, and be willing to sit with the discomfort that change is going to bring. In the long run, it will be so incredibly worth the effort.
The three cocktails pictured in today’s post are from this time last year, created to represent each of Scrooge’s visiting spirits. I’ve linked to the original posts so that you can see their recipes. Cheers, everyone. Don’t be afraid to look behind you. Forgive yourself (or someone else) if you need to, and know that it’s never too late to change your present circumstances. Strive for joy, for you and for everyone around you, even those you meet by chance on a daily basis. Take hold of your own future. Believe in it. Don’t be afraid to hope for what seems like it may be impractical, or even impossible, because nothing really is. Especially at Christmas. Happy Friday!