As I think on the month of December, and the many topics we could choose to write about, I began to feel overwhelmed. Not because of the normal holiday stress, though. I’ve always loved Christmas and my name even means “Christmas Child”. And, although it’s the timeless tradition and ancient holiday trimmings that speaks to me most, I told Inion that I wanted to mesh something old with something new and in doing so, open up a box of Christmas magic.
So, I toyed with the notion of posting the infamous “Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Clause” and putting a modern-day twist to it.
Or perhaps write a post regarding the quaint-Rockwell style, Window Wonderland tradition our town keeps. My daughter was intrigued with the idea of a “Nutcracker” revisiting us this year, while following the productions and reviewing them.
None of it moved me, though. I wanted to find something that really represented a fresh perspective on an old-time Christmas charm.
But, each day I turned on my computer the first thing to catch my eye would be another child murdered, an abuse story regarding the elderly, people losing their homes and jobs; more heartache, more drama, more negativity.
We are in a time when humanity is in a terrible state and the human stain and loss of faith in our fellow man is ever present upon us, reminding us of the evil that lurks within those with a lack of heart. It makes it very hard to find Holiday Cheer, Joy to the World and yes, a Merry Christmas, amidst all this sorrow.
So what’s a writer to do? Well, the answer would come to us when we wandered upon an article which I will be sharing with all of you and encourage you to read if you haven’t already.
The exact type of human interest story that stays with us long after Christmas has passed. The type of story that speaks volumes of the Christmas spirit, or what could be.
A Police Officer, Lawrence DePrimo, was on duty when he noticed a homeless man without shoes, leaning against a building on a cold winter night in New York City. After disappearing for a short time, he came back with a pair of seventy-five dollar, all-weathered-boots, and proceeded to bend down and place the socks on the man’s feet, as well as putting the boots on him.
Ah, at last, the type of act that is forever marked as kind-hearted and genuine. A real Christmas miracle in this day and age. And to make it even more special, the man wasn’t even aware that he was being photographed.
No sooner did we get our teeth around this story and began feeling Father Christmas at our door, we read that the photo was getting an enormous amount of play and was followed by a mixed bitter-sweet response.
Evidently, there’s been several cruel acts and unjustified violence towards the homeless in New York, by police officers no less.
“Man?” said the ghost. “If man you be in heart, not adamant, forbid that wicked cant until you have discovered, what the surplus is, and where it is. Will you decide what men shall live, what men shall die?”
Charles Dickens, A Christmas Story
It’s always sad to witness cruelty by those of power against those who are powerless; the strong against the weak. And to think that anyone could show such dissent to the very people they are sworn to protect and serve, is just horrific.
As I read, their anger began to seep into me and rob me of the joyous spirit that had come over me. And so, I stepped back and began to try and see through the comments and understand how anyone could take such an act of pure selflessness and turn it into a heated feud over whether it was rightly posted and justified by the photographer to believe she witnessed a miracle.
And the more I thought about it, the angrier I became. Let’s all, just over analyze something, and destroy any chance of having any kind of faith or hope in mankind this holiday season. Though I can honestly say that I understand the reasoning behind their rants, I will not condone it.
There’s talk of the act being used to boost confidence in the officials and diminish the bad publicity accumulated by the men in blue and their past behavior. And that my friends, is walking a thin line. Whether it’s true or not, why would you buy into the secondary act of those playing politics? If the usual treatment upsets you, wouldn’t this be a step in the right direction? Or at least the act itself worthy of individual merit? And at what point can we say, “Things have been righted.”?! Should we?!
We should always strive for more when dealing with matters of the heart and charity towards our brothers and sisters. But, we also need to remember that a handful of people don’t represent a group. I have that problem as you can see in my words, at the beginning of this post; judging the state of mankind and the entire world by what the media chooses to show me.
It’s an easy trap to fall into if we’re not careful, but when searching for an answer to the truth amidst a sea of media trophies, there’s remarkable stories filled with warmth and human generosity for all to read. Folded into the others and enveloped between the heartache and evil. You just have to be willing to roll up your sleeves and dig through the muck to find them. They’re there! The media just doesn’t want to report them, except for those few times when their doing a holiday special or it benefits their ratings.
If readers have a choice of a wedding or a nasty, public-divorce; a birth or a death; a rape or a women’s shelter opening; a gruesome Hollywood, style murder or a heroic-save, we choose the negative, because it’s in our nature to be cynical and expect the worse from each other.
To those who find fault in the good deed, who judge one act by the others, I would say to you, Change can only come when allowed through it’s first door. Let go of your fears and anger to hold onto what’s good. Believe me, we know what shape were in. And it’s that fear that makes us all guarded. But, history has taught us that one person, one act, one single ripple in the pond can create change. A contagious wave that has the potential to roll through us and inspire the type of change that is sorely needed.
This time of year, all of us Ebenezer’s, need to remember the voices of those before us, reminding us everyday of the miracle of life and the good that all men and women possess if only they will let it out.
Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Mother Theresa, Gandhi, Martin Luther King. So many wonderful men and women, who had visions of what mankind could be when given the chance. They spoke boldly in a time when their ideas weren’t popular, nor those that stood fearlessly alone willing to fight for that belief.
Before long, they found a crowd of supporters, people with the same belief and passion inspired by one thought, one act.
The cause and voice of a unified thought, and that thought was Change. They are our ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, reminding us that there’s changes needed, there’s work to be done and that time is running out. If we fail to listen to them, what will become of us? How can we expect others to learn from them if we don’t speak of them and pass that message along. If we don’t give hope.
Remember…. “one man can make a difference.”
I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The spirits of all three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach.
Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
Oh, how they do remind us. Remind us of who we were before the change. Remind us of who we are, how much change is still needed, and how far we have yet to go. And remind us of who we can, or will be.
As I began to read the negative comments regarding the DePrimo story, I told myself to remember that it’s stories like this that fit around the fabric of what the holidays should and could stand for and what America stands for.
The Golden shore of Freedom ringing out within a people searching for a place where we can live and love life, as a liberated soul, without restrictions, without fears. A city on a hill. (She’s still great!) Does she still need work? I hope so! I hope we never reach a point where we can say, we don’t need change. Life is change and so should it’s people be who inhabit her land.
And not just our own home, our own family, but care for our brothers and sisters who inhabit this land with us. Our neighbors. One Nation, filled with all races, creed, genders, a melting pot. The flavor of the world poured into one country, one brotherhood.
“It’s not my business!” Scrooge returned. “It’s enough for a man to understand his own business. And not to interfere with other peoples. Mine occupies me constantly.”
Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol.
I recently read a book, by author Mark Thomas, “Every Mothers Nightmare” The Story of James Bulger. To go into this story would completely undo what we were hoping to send out. And, though it’s hard for me, I’m doing my best to bridle my tongue and keep positive.
What I will tell you, is that after reading it, I found out that more than twenty-five people witnessed a crime in which the perpetrators were two ten year old boys, who lured a two year old boy away and took him on a two and a half mile walk.
What I found most appalling, was that there were more than twenty-five adults who witnessed the boys along that brutal hike. Some who even made statements that they believed it strange that the two year old was bloody, crying, and that the ten year olds appeared nervous. But, of the dozens of witnesses to this, only one actually involved themselves. The rest ignored that nagging feeling in the pit of their stomach, that voice in the back of their head that told them to do something!
James Bulger is gone and there’s nothing we can do to make this right. I can’t help but to feel angry for the child’s unnecessary death. Had one person acted, he’d still be alive.
As humans we have a responsibility to look out for each other. To help when needed. To speak when asked. To give, when we can. To lend a shoulder when someone cries.
“Oh! Captive, bound, and double-ironed.” Cried the phantom. “Not to know, that ages of incessant labour, by immortal creatures, for this earth must pass into eternity, before the good of, which it is susceptible is all developed. Not to know that any Christian spirit working kindly in it’s little sphere, whatever it may be, will find it’s mortal life too short for it’s vast means of usefulness. Not to know that no space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunity misused.”
Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
And so, to Officer, Lawrence DePrimo, I say, “Thank you, Sir. Thank you for stepping in, instead of walking away. Thank you for caring, instead of saying, he’s not my problem. Thank you, for not only buying the boots, but bending down, and dressing the cold, man that’s down on his luck; beaten and weathered by time. Thank you officer, DePrimo, for reminding us of the human spirit and the possibilities when one takes that step towards generosity and away from fear.”
For one kind act, another’s life is made better, our spirits soar, change begins. So, is set, an example for the rest of us, on how to give a Christmas gift, a blessing or miracle during a time of year, that can truly be magical if only we will create the spark.
We end this just as we started with the ever-great Charles Dickens’ words, from his wonderful holiday classic, A Christmas Carol:
At last, however, he began to think, — as you or I would have thought at first; For it is always the person not in the predicament who knows what ought to have been done in it, and would unquestionably have done it too.
Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
And to our readers we say: “God Bless us, Every one!”