For years, I have been a Scrooge! Let me distinguish that from a “Grinch.” The latter wishes to steel Christmas. I don’t wish diminish the joy of people who seem to love the season. For years, I just haven’t happened to be one of those people. Thus, I am a “Scrooge” not a “Grinch”
More specifically, I grimace at the first decorations that appear in the mall. I wince at the thought of shopping and I really find decorating an unwelcome chore. When asked, “What do you want for Christmas?” my response is often less-than-charitable. And, as a matter of further disclosure, I was born on December 25th. That alone is enough reason to be a Scrooge. (More on the pains of being a Christmas baby later)
Now, of course as a Christian, I joyfully celebrate the “Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord”. The theological significance of the day is not lost on me but, I just don’t like the secularism that intrudes on the season. And I recently realized that I have allowed my disdain for the secularism of Christmas to diminish the spiritual joy the season should bring.
The Ghost of Christmas Present
Like Ebenizer Scrooge, God sent me a “Ghost of Christmas Present.” However, she isn’t ghost but rather one of the English teachers at my school. This young colleague discovered my lack of enthusiam about Christmas and set herself on a mission to get me to better like the season. She is the type of young teacher that has an abundance of innocent idealism, much of which I have abandoned years ago. And, through the grace of God, some of her idealism penetrated the hardened heart that I have unfortunately developed over the years about Christmas.
She admitted flat out, “Curtis, I am going to get you to like Christmas!” to which I replied, “Don’t try!” Now, that sounded like a pretty clear order to me. It was clear to her too but, she thankfully chose to be insubordinate.
First, when my school had a door decorating competition, I hung a “bah humbug” sign on my office door. Against my wishes, she took upon herself to decorate my door as pictured. Then, she insisted that I wear red and green one day (I didn’t do that one!). She even tried saying “Merry Christmas” in the most annoying way every time she passed me in the hallway. Of course, I replied each time with a hearty, “Bah Humbug!”
Finally she sent me an email that contained the following:
“At this time of year, people come together, even though you are the scrooge of the season, it is a time when you can really hope and pray for a light in the darkness, its a time where anything is possible….Mary gave birth as a virgin in a barn for goodness sake.
It is a time when people think about each other, families re-unite, make great journeys to see each other, good friends, old friends and distant friends take the time to send a card that has been selected just for them, with really personalized contents.
Of course it would be nice to do that all year round, but lets face it, it isn’t possible really!….Its also a time when you can talk about Christ, where Jesus can penetrate, all-be-it subtly, every mall, home and even every public school. You can spread the Gospel just by humming a carol.
This is your time to go out and really minister to those who usually would not otherwise be open to listening.”
Merry Christmas Everyone!
Brothers and sisters, this came from a young teacher. This is someone I am supposed to be guiding and mentoring. But sometimes, the Holy Spirit allows the master to become the student. And the real miracle, she restored some of the idealism that I abandoned long ago.
Normally, if a teacher is insubordinate, I would write them up. So, for the record, a hard copy of this blog entry will go into her file.
Thank you Ms. Waterhouse, English Teacher and Friend, Saint Frances Academy!
Oh, and Merry Christmas too!