Just finished watching the 1938 version of A Christmas Carol, starring Reginald Owen as Scrooge and Leo G. Carroll as the Ghost of Jacob Marley! If I’m rating the different versions that have come out over the years, this one is number two, behind the one featuring George C. Scott, the TV version if you will, with Frank Finlay as Marley’s Ghost and Susannah York as Mrs. Cratchit!
Besides a tale about the evils of greed and selfishness, it’s also about, probably mainly about, the meaning of Christmas and the task of carrying that ideal attitude (of love) through every day of the year. It’s been decades since I read the original Dickens tale, but both versions follow closely to the story, as told by the novelist.
Scrooge changes his ways by the end, having been visited by four ghosts. Let’s not forget Marley! Scrooge makes good with his nephew, his heir, and then to his one employee, Bob Cratchit. We can’t help but feel good at the end! Mr. Scrooge is laughing! He’s acknowledging his miserly and selfish past and laughing at his life of folly! Who cannot like that!
At this time of year we often walk around mimicking the former Mr. Scrooge: “Bah, Humbug!” “Christmas is for fools!” But that’s usually when we’re getting overwhelmed by the frenetic pace that typifies Christmas, or maybe we’re just being humorous. We all have to run around buying gifts, getting all the right foods, getting the right clothes because the really nice clothes we wore last Christmas just won’t do for this Christmas.
Forgetting of course what Christmas is all about. Personally, I’m not talking the Christian reason for Christmas. Tired of of that one TV network’s faux “War on Christmas” and seeing and hearing, “Remember the reason for the Season.” Well, okay, here’s a reason for this season:
In Northern Europe the people celebrated Yule. This was the pre-Roman and therefore pre-Christian, era. Those people decorated a Yule Log with boughs of holly and fir, inscribing runes on it calling on the gods to protect them from evil and bad times.
The Northern Europeans also decorated Holiday Trees and hung mistletoe, not for easy kisses, but to resurrect the Dead. Maybe Aunt Mollie kissing old Uncle Ralph is her bid to resurrect his Little Ralph. Ever think of that? Of course Aunt Mollie might be giving Uncle Ralphie Viagra for Christmas so who knows, maybe it will work this year.
For me, the Reason for the Season is to remember my Family, not as I do all year ’round, but more so. It’s no accident the Christian Christmas coincides with the Northern Winter Solstice; the Romans set it up this way because spiritually, the Winter Solstice is the new beginning, the start of the wheel of life, when all the beings, from plants, to animals to fish, begin their rebirth.
The Winter Solstice is the longest night of the year and from that day until the summer Solstice, when we have the longest day of the year, we celebrate renewal and growth. The Solstice this year happens on December 21, but Jesus needs a fixed date for a birthday so December 25 was chosen. But feel free to celebrate both the Solstice and Christmas — it’s a season of celebration.
Most of my family will celebrate Christmas in the Christian Tradition, with Christ as the reason for the Season. Not only is that okay with me, I hope they include me in their prayers and expressions of gratitude and thanksgiving. I know they will include me in their round of funny family stories … wish I could be “there,” you know, to defend myself, or at least tell a funnier version! Why tell a good story honestly when you can dress it up with a bit of exaggeration, hyperbole and undue melodrama! That’s my philosophy!
And I include them in my moments of remembrance, gratitude and thanksgiving. Thanks to the advent of the Internet, e-mail, mobile phones and Facebook, I am “closer” to them; we “talk” nearly every day and can check up on their daily activity with the click of a button, or two.
Our family is spread across the nation, from Florida, to Texas, Wisconsin, Colorado and here, Sunny Sandy Eggo.
So, to my family and friends: Thank you all and may all of you find nothing but happiness, blessings and love this Holiday Season!!
Some of these friends go back for more than 20 and 30 years. If I’ve learned anything worthwhile in life, it’s remembering those who are the closest to me and have been there in sickness and in health, for better or worse; in short: my loved ones!
My wish for everyone: Have a Happy Holidays and relish having all your loved ones in your life. If you don’t know who your loved ones are, you’ll figure it out if you want to. Get to know them and be grateful for them. I know for some people the family is a source of pain and grief, or at least frustration. But we all have friends, so be grateful for them.
That’s the reason for the season.
Of course, if you wanna send me gifts, that’s okay with me too! Grateful Dead or Frank Zappa gear is always appreciated.
Tim Forkes started as a writer on a small alternative newspaper in Milwaukee called the Crazy Shepherd. Writing about entertainment, he had the opportunity to speak with many people in show business, from the very famous to the people struggling to find an audience. In 1992 Tim moved to San Diego, CA and pursued other interests, but remained a freelance writer. Upon arrival in Southern California he was struck by how the elected government officials and business were so intertwined, far more so than he had witnessed in Wisconsin. His interest in entertainment began to wane and the business of politics took its place. He had always been interested in politics, his mother had been a Democratic Party official in Milwaukee, WI, so he sat down to dinner with many of Wisconsin’s greatest political names of the 20th Century: William Proxmire and Clem Zablocki chief among them. As a Marine Corps veteran, Tim has a great interest in veteran affairs, primarily as they relate to the men and women serving and their families. As far as Tim is concerned, the military-industrial complex has enough support. How the men and women who serve are treated is reprehensible, while in the military and especially once they become veterans. Tim would like to help change that.