A Christmas Message to My Readers

by Kenneth Rayman on December 22, 2017
This time of year I also return to that of childhood memories. One of my favorites is a personal tradition of watching A Christmas Carol, the classic Charles Dickens tale. While there are many versions of it, I grew up with Mickey Mouse’s version that introduced me to the tale and then the Muppet Christmas Carol. In middle school, I was introduced to the George C. Scott version, after reading the play in English and watching it as a class; General George S. Patton as Scrooge was amazing and fit the bill with him as the stingy, harsh businessman. Through the years I’ve watched other versions but those three are my favorite. I recently watched the Patrick Stewart version. Knowing he is a classically trained actor, I knew he’d do the role justice.

Each time I watch the introduction of Tiny Tim’s character I feel the innocence of childhood yet again and a connection to the story. Maybe its because I, myself, am disabled but I think it’s more the spirit of his character. He is the embodiment of taking what you have and making the best of it. Perhaps also it is how the Cratchit family celebrates with each other. I was not raised viewing the holiday as a religious one but one of a loving time of family and connection. Yes, I was taught the religious stories but it was not what the holiday revolved around. Christmas was a time for family and, yes, gifts but when I became old enough to know the gifts were from the heart to show what you meant to the others.

The story also showed me a simpler time but as I grew older I understood the financial aspect of Cratchit’s place in the story, which emphasized the family focus. Becoming interested in history and, later reading book of Karl and Jenny Marx’s love story, showed me the physical strain of the living conditions of the day thus adding another facet to the story and of the story’s message of love and thankfulness.

This year, while not the best overall, gave me the opportunity to experience a childhood memory first hand, that of seeing the land I watched on t.v. and read about, and discovering that which makes us human rather than our personal nationality. I learned that what bind us together is mutual respect, gratitude, and empathy. While I’ve had many questions about my travels and the perceptions of me as an American and those of the geopolitical curiosity, I’ve never focused on that as part of the conversation. I’ve always focused on the best of the experience, though there was truly no bad except for minor communication difficulties. Like Tim, I focus on the good in the world; though, mindful of the bad, I don’t allow it to quell my pure joy of experience and that of empathy toward my fellow man/woman.

While a bit of a roundabout way of Christmas thanks, I wanted to give my thanks to the world, my readers, the citizens of Russia, Norway, Finland and all the future citizens of the world I hope to meet in future days as well as share the inspiration I get from a classic to experience the world as I do. Happy Holidays everyone!