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Make lasting memories this Christmas

When I was young, my parents had a classic recording of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. It was generally played for us on Christmas Eve. If the narration of Orson Wells and the voice of Lionel Barrymore as Ebenezer Scrooge did not pin us to the bed while ‘˜Santa’ arranged the presents under the tree, the sound of Marley’s ghost dragging his chains and cash boxes would. No one would venture into a dark hallway after hearing that! Just last week, I stumbled across a film version of Dickens’ classic on The Movie Channel. It starred George C. Scott as Scrooge. I sat riveted to the television as homework and holiday trimmings were attended to all around me. The movie was good but it could not hold a candle to the old vinyl record. Wells, Barrymore and cast had to spark the imagination in order for you to envision Scrooge, Marley, Bob Cratchitt and Tiny Tim in the mind’s eye and they did a superb job. After being visited by Marley’s ghost and the ghosts of Christmases past, present and future, Scrooge saw the error of his ways and became the jolliest of the jolly old fellows in 1843 England. A bad economy has played Scrooge here lately but there are preliminary reports that Christmas sales are up in this country and that retailers may enjoy a profitable season for the first time in several years. There are many among us, however, who are facing hard financial times and will struggle to put gifts under the tree this year. When you get down to it, material gifts are just the icing on the Christmas cake. Christmas is about making memories – lasting memories that recessions and depressions cannot take away. Like you, I have Christmas memories I cherish. I recall the huge family gatherings at my grandparents’ modest home on 34th Street in Savannah before they died. No one of wealth sat at the table but we feasted. I recall Christmas, 1976 in Athens when most students were leaving to go home but I had to stay to work at Athens General Hospital. A pretty young coed brought me the small Christmas tree from her apartment so I would have one. Today, she is my wife of over 34 years and the mother of my precious daughters. There are countless memories of those daughters and the looks on their faces as they discovered what ‘˜Santa’ left under their tree. Indeed, Christmas is about memories and remembering. Remember we are celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ who was born Christmas night and later suffered and died for our sins. Don’t lose sight of that in the holiday hustle and bustle. And, make some memories for you family and one or more needy families this Christmas. The gifts under the tree will soon be broken, forgotten or become yesterday’s technology. Memories last a lifetime. An army of Scrooges cannot keep you from them. Merry Christmas! And, merry memories.

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