On any given night in my home these days, there are multiple renditions of the beloved classic, “A Christmas Carol,” being performed. One night, it was with an army of nutcrackers. On another, with Barbies and a cameo from Olaf. Last night, a star-studded cast of stuffed animals. Why is that this year my children are all a-glow with this cherished of Christmas stories?
It could be because we were invited, so kindly by a church member, to see the live performance at The Little Theatre of Alexandria, “Tiny Tim’s Christmas Carol.” It could be the many times they have watched the Muppet or the darling Mickey Mouse version. But, if I had to really put my finger on it- I believe the credit goes to the new movie, “Spirited.” To those of you who have not had the privilege of watching it, this isn’t a spoiler alert- just an old fashioned plug for this new fangled twist on a classic.
My fascination for the story of grumpy old Scrooge came early in my life. My dear father’s favorite movie is the 1951 version with Alastair Sims.
The truly treasured time with my family was not simply in watching Scrooge upon the small Tv screen, rather it was the happiness that was written all over my father’s face throughout. To witness the unfolding of the main character’s crass, crooked ways- turned loving and loyal. What an opportunity it would be! And could it possibly be the dream that haunts us all deep down? To have a second chance at joy?
In the new adaptation, “Spirited,” the premise is taking Ryan Reynold’s stiff, stone-cold, selfish character – marked an “unredeemable”– and teach him that people can, indeed, be changed. You find yourself cheering for him the entire movie to have that true Scrooge moment- when he sees his waywardness, and with repentance and a renewed heart yells, “I’ll change, I’ll change…”
However, his response in a song (yes- there’s SO much singing to my joy- it’s a musical!) has brought upon much reflection in this house…
“So try to do a little good
Maybe give a little more
Work a little harder than you did the day before (Work a little harder)
It only takes a little good
And some doin’ what you can
Takin’ every chance to make the choice to help your fellow man
So do a little good (Hey)
Just a little, just a little, just a little (Hey, hey)
Maybe there’s no magic wand
Maybe there’s no switch to flip (Oh)
Some days you may soar beyond
Some days you may soar beyond
And some days you start to slip
You can give the world some good
In the daily give-and-take
With every ripple, ripple, ripple that you make”
It it at this beautiful junction that I paint the picture of watching this movie for the first time fireside with the girls and my sister over Thanksgiving and when the words “ripple” were being sung and danced to for five minutes straight- my face was…
And no, dear friends, I certainly did not invent the word. But I did, with the encouragement of my husband and the prompting of the Holy Spirit, write a children’s book about the simple act of getting up out of bed each day and trying to spread a little kindness. And Yes, it is entitled “The Ripple.” But it isn’t just a word, or just a song, not even just a story. It’s a way of life. A decision to “be changed and BE the change.“
The magical feeling we get with any version of A Christmas Carol is watching someone receive the gift of a second chance at life. At righting the wrongs. At finding the joy that can be found everyday.
But, only believing it’s simply a Christmas classic- is to set it high on a shelf the other 364 days of the year, rather than convicted by it’s true message.
Little things make a big difference.
And, I’m going to say it…
People. Are. Good.
I believe it with every fiber of my being.
It’s why I do love my sweet story so much. It’s full of hope.
And I think it’s why we love all things Christmas.
We have been invited to play a part in this beautiful world- not just on December 25th, but each and every day. To be a ripple and spread kindness, cheer, and “just a little” good throughout the darkness and shadows. What will we say to someone? How will we react? What will we do with our time? What stirs in us, motivates us, moves us? “Goodwill” is a moment by moment choice.
On one day recently running around doing errands with Quinny:
A man at the dollar store built us a box from scratch to hold our items because they wouldn’t fit in the stroller. And then carried the box out to my car. With a smile.
At the grocery store, a woman bought June a balloon because she was reaching for one.
At McDonald’s, the server came running out to grab us as we were driving away because we didn’t have the toy in the happy meal.
We, as humanity, will certainly “take one step forward and two steps back.” But as long as we are moving forward, not relying only on the strength of ourselves to keep on this journey, but continually reaching outward, upwards.
Each of us can live a life of redemption. Every single day.
It’s His gift.
Who’s you ask?
That sweet, tiny baby born in the manger.
He came to bring you the joy you’ve lost, to right your wrongs, to light up the world, to redeem us with love and hope.
Draw close to the tiny hands, that will someday be pierced for you.
Listen to His sweet, soft breath, that He will give up for you.
There is no stopping His love.
He came for You.
To stand with you on your best days and hold you on your worst.
He came to give you a second chance, a third, as many as you need until you come home.
May the 365 days of peace on earth and goodwill towards men start today, with me and you.
Merry Christmas, dear friends.