COLUMN: Merry Christmas to all

It’s hard to believe Christmas Eve is here.

During this time, I try to reflect on What Christmas Means to Me, as many local students did in this week’s Enquirer beginning on Page C-7.

We have all read the Christmas story found in Luke 2 or – if you’re like my brother who enjoys reading genealogies – in Matthew 1. We’ll also go back and reflect on the prophecies that are foretold in Isaiah and other books of the Old Testament.

Of course, the Christmas story doesn’t end with just a visit by the shepherds and the wise men, who may or may not have actually visited Jesus while they were in the stable. We could get into a debate about whether the wise men should be a part of the manger scene, but we’ll save that for another day.

However, the one pattern that recurs throughout Christmas is the practice of giving. As we see, God gave us the gift of His son so that we could have new life.

We also see the Magi bringing gifts to the savior. During this season, we also see the practice of giving gifts during the Jewish festival of Hanukkah.

While we have commercialized the act of giving gifts, we should never lose sight of the fact that giving is an important part of life.

It’s always great to see productions of the Charles Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol” during this time of year. I happened to catch one on TV involving one of my favorite actors, Patrick Stewart, i.e. Capt. Jean-Luc Picard in the Star Trek universe. While it might not be the most highly regarded rendition of Dickens’ tale, it still gets the point across.

As we remember, Scrooge is visited by four ghost during one night. He’s first visited by his old boss, Marley, and then by the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future.

We get glimpses of Scrooge’s life in the past, including when his fiancée dumped him because his greed had become his first love instead of her.

We also see where he has hoarded wealth so much to a point that he had no friends. No one had ever wanted to be around him. We even see the reaction of Scrooge’s death, where the people would only attend if they got a free meal out of it. Others stole his possessions and debtors were just happy that he died.

After his Damascus Road experience, Scrooge turns from his wicked ways and becomes one of the most caring and thoughtful men of his time. Some were even so surprised at his actions that people laughed at him in disbelief.

However, Scrooge didn’t care about what others thought. He just did what was right from that point on and helped his fellow man.

The interesting thing about giving is that you get more back in return than you ever gave away. While you may not have the most money, you will have far greater riches than money can buy.

Brent Maze is the managing editor of the Hartselle Enquirer.

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