Last week we heard from a strange green character and a man with the odd name of Scrooge of how they were dealing with the expectations of the Christmas Season. There are more at this gathering who have their own stories…
“You should meet my lawyer, good man,” said the more kindly faced gray-haired man sitting next to Scrooge.
“Oh, I know you believe Gailey can perform miracles, Kris, but I think it would take more than that to wipe greed from men’s hearts,” replied Scrooge.
“Well, I guess I can’t argue with you there,” replied Kris. “I remember it was decades ago I was saying to him, I’ve been getting more worried about Christmas. Seems we’re all so busy trying to beat the other fellow…in making things go faster, look shinier, and cost less…that Christmas and I are sort of getting lost in the shuffle.
Now it’s not just a Santa here or there that gets dragged into court. The whole holiday is on trial it seems. Stores that count on Chirstmas-spending to survive tell their employees not to even use the word. People argue about whether it’s politically correct to wish someone you don’t know a ‘Merry Christmas.’”
It seemed the man was getting quite emotional as he went on, and perhaps the Grinch had seen him fly off on this topic before, because he interrupted,
“The world out there now has grown more diverse,” he said.
“And that at times can be a blessing and a curse.
There are people of all faiths, and skins of many colors
Some see Christmas as a symbol of how their faith isn’t as accepted as others
When so many have been hurt by the pressure to conform,
You can’t blame them for not wanting just one faith treated as the norm.
“Hmph,” Kris acknowledged the Grinch’s comments, but continued in the same vein as before. “I make no apologies that I was born and raised a Christian, and I believe the true spirit of Christmas is found in the gospels. But, just like every person has love inside of themselves, everyone has Christmas inside of them, whether they choose to call it Christmas or something else.”
He continued, “I do know a thing or two about not fitting in. I’ve been fortunate to have some very kind friends.” Kris continued. “They welcome me even though they think I’m different. I try to overlook the fact that they are concerned about my difference, and focus on the fact that they care about me. But, it does get tiring being treated like you may be dangerous or are some kind of liar when it’s really everyone else that is telling themselves a lie.”
“I know what you mean,” said the Grinch. “Though I’ll add its not easy being green.”
“Well, I’m one man who knows how fortunate I am.” said the final man, who had a quite distinctive speaking style. His story was particularly heart-warming.
“Everyone wants friends who they can count on in a really tough time,” George began, “Well, I’ve not only got great friends, but I know I can count on them, because I’ve been through that tough time.
“I know you’re all tired of hearing about this, but I can’t stop thinking about that Christmas Eve that I almost lost my business.” He looked down at his empty hands as if he expected something to be there and for a moment reached out into the air as if to grab at something that had been taken from him.
“There’s that loose end of the money that my uncle lost. I still can’t understand how it could have just disappeared without someone turning it in. I have to admit, I’ve caught myself watching my friends and neighbors, waiting for one of them to show that they’ve got a little more spending money. But the only person in town that seems to have any money is that Potter. And well, I suppose I can’t feel too bad about that, since he’s because he’s been dying in the hospital for years now. And that means he’s probably about as broke as the rest of us.” George looked up from his hands, and smiled at the other man of business in the circle. “That is, unless you decide to help him out, Ebeneezer.”
The others all laughed lightly, and Scrooge replied wisely, “You’re lucky to have that sense of humor, Bailey. It’s probably part of why you have so many great friends. And haven’t you told us that ‘no man is poor who has friends.’”
“True,” replied George. “I’ve learned that money isn’t the most important thing in the world, but life does go on and life takes money whether we like it or not. I’ve got my life and my family, which are worth more than anything, but I’ve also got a lot of debt to those friends that I don’t know how I’m ever going to repay. I worry about saddling my children with a great responsibility, and I know how that feels, having inherited my father’s business against my will. I don’t want my son to be stuck behind a desk that’s stained with the sweat and tears of his father and grandfather.”
George concluded, “I know I’ve had a wonderful life so far, and the past does sustain me at times. But the truth is, you can’t always keep looking back, and as hard as it is to see the role you’ve played in the past, it’s a heck of a lot harder to see how you’ll be able to keep making a difference in the future. I’m getting tired. Its hard to keep it going.”
Just then we heard the door open and someone running down the stairs. A young, round-faced boy with glasses and wearing snowpants and a stocking cap bounded into the hall. “Where’s the bathroom?” he asked.
To Be Continued… Can anyone get these characters out of the post-holiday funk?