Growing up as a child in Ponoka, I always enjoyed the many special family events, both in and around the community, as well as being together in our comfortable little home along the hospital road.
There were also many great festive traditions in December such as concerts, carolling, visiting with the neighbours, and searching for the best Christmas tree, but I will never forget snuggling up together in the living room with a big bowl of popcorn and lots of hot chocolate, then staying up a little later to watch the age-old movies like Miracle on 34th Street and ‘A Christmas Carol’ with Alastair Sim. To this very day ,I always try to encourage our siblings to join in and watch the wonderful story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a tall, gruff and skinny man with long white hair who ignored his family and friends in his early life to gather a massive fortune that he had kept all to himself. Over the years, he would become a miserable and grumpy gentleman who hated the Christmas holidays, and usually spent the hallowed evening of Dec. 24 all by himself in his dark and cold flat. It was during one of those long and frightful nights that Mr. Scrooge received a visit from the eerie Ghosts of Christmas Past, who, while dragging their chains amongst the cob-webs, reminded him of the misery and agony that he had inflicted on others. They showed old Scrooge his wicked past life, where he had cast aside his first romance and cheated on his late loyal business partner Jacob Marley, who had now returned in the after-life to show him his terrible deeds, as well as offering him the last hope of changing his selfish and lonely lifestyle before it was too late.
After a horrible session of nightmares and unspeakable reminders of his past deeds, Ebenezer Scrooge’s magnificent awakening on Christmas morning revealed a happy and kindly old man who was now desperate to mend his ways. He humbly reached out to the caring family that he had ignored to ask for forgiveness, then made a surprise visit to the tiny home of his clerk Bob Cratchit and presented them with the largest turkey in the village, as well to help bring up their crippled son Tiny Tim and the rest of the very poor family. With his heart full of the joy and inspiration he claimed that he didn’t deserve, Ebenezer Scrooge was so thankful to have been given the opportunity to help others in the community, and became a beloved friend for the rest of his life.
This truly wonderful Christmas story has been and still is presented in many delightful movies, plays and books over the decades, and is still available in all its glory for families of all ages to enjoy. It may bring a tear to your eye, but it will also make you laugh and will always leave us all with the most powerful and sincere message that we must always love, share and care for all the wonderful people that God has given us throughout our lives, because he will need them back home again someday.
A little Christmas trivia
● It takes four to 15 years to grow a typical six to seven foot Christmas tree, so please pick the right one before you cut it down and take it home. 37.1 million Spruce trees are purchased every year in North America for the Christmas holiday.
● One tiny mistletoe kiss burns up three calories, so the longer the smooch the better the exercise, and what a great way to keep your fitness program going hot and heavy over the holidays.
● The movie ‘How The Grinch Stole Christmas’ (2000) featured 52,000 Christmas lights, 8200 ornaments, 2000 candy canes, and the grumpy old Grinch stole them all.
● The early Christmas dinner in England was a whole pig prepared with mustard, but thank goodness, in modern times, the traditional turkey took over and the ‘porker’ was relegated to sizzling in the pan for our early morning wake-up breakfast. Ukrainians prepare a 12-course meal on Christmas Day, which is served from morning to night, and is likely accompanied by lots of beer and Bromo.
● In 1969, American billionaire Ross Perot attempted to airlift 28 tons of medicine and Christmas gifts to the POWs in North Vietnam.
● Among the oldest Yuletide traditions are leaving good old Santa a treat of milk and cookies for his one night a year visit to your house, Gramma’s old fashioned fruit pudding sprinkled with sherry and set on fire, hanging those big socks on the mantelpiece, and trying to stay awake long enough to catch the rumble of the reindeer on the roof and the shake and shuffle of the happy old guy down the chimney with his bag full of goodies.
Have a jolly old time preparing for it all for the next 14 days, and have a great week, all of you.