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Christmas Changes Us

It's the Christmas season and we all have our favorite activities to do (such as baking, making ornaments, sending Christmas cards, etc.), places to go, books to read, music to listen to, and movies to watch that get us in the Christmas spirit. I have written before about how Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is a "read every Christmas" favorite of mine. I also must watch the 1951 movie version starring Alastair Sim. It is so uplifting to see how Scrooge's visits with the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future change his outlook on life.

I recently purchased two Christmas books. One is called Christmas Stories, Everyman's Pocket Classics and the other is Favorite Poems for Christmas, A Child's Collection. One of the stories I read was taken from The Pickwick Papers, also written by Charles Dickens, and is called "The Story of the Goblin Who Stole a Sexton." The storyline is similar to A Christmas Carol in that there is a very unhappy man who is about to have an encounter with a goblin. His name is Gabriel Grub and he is a very unhappy man. He is a sexton, or gravedigger, and he has no family or friends. He gets very upset when he meets a young lad singing loudly, cutting through the cemetery to get to his friends for Christmas. Grubb stops the boy and hits him on the head with his lantern many times for singing loudly. The boy runs away, now sobbing loudly. The next part is predictable, the goblins see how he mistreats the boy, show Grub scenes from his life, and make fun of him. The King Goblin also kicks him in the leg after every memory. I do not want to give away the end, but you can probably guess--he quits his job, moves to the country, and is happy.

One of the poems I read was called "The Shepherd Who Stayed" by Theodosia Garrison. I have always wondered what happened to the sheep when the shepherds went to Bethlehem. The poem is about the one shepherd who stayed behind to protect the sheep from thieves and predators. He does not hear the words or see what the others saw in the great light in the night sky. Responsibility to the sheep's owner is important to him and he wonders why the others forgot their responsibilities and he wonders what they were going to see. Perhaps, he thinks, they will return by dawn and explain what has happened in Bethlehem.

This Christmas season, as we involve ourselves in hustle and bustle that will surround us, I hope we can find a little something that will help us to be a little more happy and at peace with ourselves, and that we do not take somebody else's happiness because we might not be feeling "festive" at that moment. I also hope that you do not feel so "responsible" that you do not go and find the wonder in a Christmastime experience. "For behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger." Think on this often and do not hesitate to go to look for the good tidings of great joy.

--Tina

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