Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Fezziwig's Ballroom, from "A Christmas Carol"

"In they all came, one after another - some shyly, some boldly;
some gracefully, some awkwardly; some pushing, some pulling
- in they all came, anyhow and everyhow."
It's that time of the year. With my latest "A Christmas Carol" illustration, I emphasize the joy of Christmas through Fezziwig's Christmas Ball.  Dickens wrote his tale about a man who hated Christmas, but what we really see is a lesson in compassion and redemption.

The brilliant writer Charles Dickens published "A Christmas Carol" in December 1843. It was a critical success, gaining acclaim and praise in literary circles. It did not, however make the profit Dickens was hoping for, primarily because of his decision to self-publish amidst rising printing costs. Over time, the book's moral lesson of love, generosity and compassion has helped redefine the spirit and importance of Christmas.

You don't have to be a non-Christian to realize that the world's most popular holiday is based on tradition. The Catholic Church adopted the holiday as a way to compete with the ancient Roman Saturnalia festival. Originally called the Feast of the Nativity, by the end of the eighth century,  Christmas spread all the way to Scandinavia. Many of the old pagan customs were resurrected as Christmas became more popular. Hence the gift giving, tree trimming, and sending holiday cards.

Not everyone believes in God, Christ, Jesus, or even a Higher Power.  Our nation (I'm speaking as an American, mind you) was founded on principles of faith under "God," the prevailing dogma of the colonists and mother-England of the time.  For traditions sake, can't the sticklers afford to interpret our historical anthems and slogans so that we honor the tradition from which they were born? If so, I hope we can mention a "Merry Christmas" now and then without offending anyone. 

Regardless of what religion, faith or nationality we are, let's "lighten up" a bunch. Forgive me and other Christmas-philes for not wishing you "Happy Holidays" Season's Greetings, or "Happy Hanukkah." If we know each other, chances are I know which holiday you celebrate, and I greet you appropriately. If I am not aware that you are celebrating the "Festival of Lights", "Ramadan," "Kwanza," or "Boxing Day," know that I am wishing you the best of the season, glad tidings and Happy New Year.  I'm not mistakenly assuming you celebrate Christmas or believe in Baby Jesus by saying "Merry Christmas." It's my way of saying "I'm celebrating" Christmas. If you can enjoy the lights and carols on the way, then that's enough for me. 

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