Drawn to the Light

Light is an important theme for me, during the month of December. During this season of the year, the days are short and the nights are long. Pushing back the darkness is accomplished in my home with strings of white lights and almost 100 candles.

Beyond those beacons of light, I am aware of being light to others. I’m conscious of sending out a beam of my own, that can light the way along life’s path.

Having spent a great deal of quality time with my grandchildren this month, I am acutely aware that I am also drawn. I am drawn to the light that their shining hearts and souls broadcast out into the world.

Drawn to the Light

Christmas Shopping

In the past 10 days, I’ve enjoyed spending time with my four grandsons and one granddaughter.

I take each grandchild out to dinner and Christmas shopping for their immediate family members. We practice this custom for their birthdays too although the emphasis shifts for Christmas.

Rather than spending money on themselves, like they do on their birthdays, the children spend money on others. I love watching them reason out what to buy, for whom. Their excitement after they’ve bought and wrapped their selections shines forth from bright faces and sparkling eyes.

Beacons of Light

These outings with the kids give us precious one on one time, when I can focus all my attention on one child. We talk and laugh. I encourage the kids to make decisions that are in alignment with what they want to do and who they are.

I like to think I’m showing them what living in joy and compassion looks and feels like. In reality, they are showing me what freedom looks and feels like, the freedom to express genuine delight in life. They remind me how important it is to play and to be creative.

I am drawn to the light of truth in them, to the ways they are learning to be who they are.

Drawn to the Light

Light of Truth

In the past weeks I’ve appreciated watching the kids shine.

One grandson is expanding his horizons as he continually takes the next right step for his life. He has a specific destination in mind and he inspires me with his unwavering determination to get where he wants to go. I love his fierce and inclusive heart.

Another grandson is mindful of his circle of friends. When I took him Christmas shopping he bought gifts for them as well. He did so not because he expected anything in return but because he wanted to surprise them and encourage them. I love his expansive and generous heart.

Grandson number three is showing first born tendencies by shouldering responsibilities and working to discover his strengths. He’s the child who cleans up and picks up before his mom gets home from work, cares for the pets, and checks in with his siblings to see if they’ve done their chores. I love his reliable and tender heart.

My youngest grandson teeters between childhood and the teen years. I’ve watched him grow in compassion and in the desire to succeed at whatever he does. His birthday happens to fall in December so we’ve enjoyed two Yaya and grandchild outings this month. He used $20 of his birthday money to buy canned goods for people who need help during the holidays. I love his entrepreneurial and compassionate heart.

My granddaughter is becoming her own unique person. She embraces the truth of who she is with courage and steely conviction…and a great sense of humor. Already she’s found her voice and she uses it to tell her story. Kindness is important to her, both receiving it and expressing it. I love her brave and creative heart.

Drawn to the Light

Drawn to the Light

During dinner tonight, Oliver and I discussed the winter solstice that occurs this Friday. We looked up what time sunset would occur…5:04 PM.

On that shortest day and longest night of the year, I’ll click on Christmas lights and light candles throughout the house. I’ll send Light out into the world, along with peace, hope and quiet joy.

In honor of my grandchildren I’ll light a candle for each of them and ask the Divine to bless them and guide them and surround them with the white light of love and protection.

And I’ll express deep gratitude for them. I am drawn to the light that shines brightly from Dayan, Jonathan, Joey, Oliver and Aubrey. May I reflect those brilliant beams out into the world.

Drawn to the Light

Observations After 34th Viewing of A Christmas Carol

How many times have you seen the classic holiday story, A Christmas Carol? Written by Charles Dickens and published in 1843, this timeless story is available in many different live action and animated versions.

Daughter Adriel and I have an annual tradition. We watch the 1984 George C. Scott adaptation together, something we’ve done since her birth the same year. Other family members join us some years. At other times, like this evening, it’s just the two of us.

You can catch thoughts from previous viewings here and also here. After watching this particular movie 34 times, is there anything left to share about this transformative journey type of story? Yes there is!

Observations After 34th Viewing of A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol

The 1984 film stars George C. Scott, Frank Finlay, Edward Woodward, Angela Pleasence, Roger Rees, David Warner and Susannah York. It was directed by Clive Donner and has a run time of 1 hour and 40 minutes.

A Christmas Carol is the story of a miserly, hard-hearted businessman, Ebenezar Scrooge, whose life is changed as he learns about compassion from three spirits who visit one Christmas Eve.

Observations After 34th Viewing of A Christmas Carol

Our Observations after 34 Years

We’ve seen this movie many times, and yet new insights pop up because we are different versions of ourselves each year. And some scenes continue to delight us, no matter how many times we watch them.

Here are our thoughts this year:

Pain Built a Wall

George C. Scott plays Ebenezer beautifully, capturing his intelligence, rigid yet regal bearing, and the pain he’s used over the years to build an impenetrable barrier around his heart. He holds people at arm’s length because at his core, he doesn’t trust anyone. Money making is his business and he’s very adept at acquiring wealth.

Adriel remarked that the older she gets, the more she appreciates the complexity of Scrooge’s character. “After all,” she quipped, “he isn’t entirely wrong.” That’s what I love about the character too. He possesses wisdom even when he lacks compassion. His words have the bite of truth, even if they are harsh.

Observations After 34th Viewing of A Christmas Carol

Love Still Gets Through that Wall

I noticed something new during the scene with Fred, near the beginning of the film. Scrooge taunts his nephew about Christmas, calling it a humbug for the first time. He even gets in a poke about Fred’s wife, who did not bring financial gain to the marriage.

Scrooge spars effectively with words. However when Fred mentions that he and his wife love each other, and implies that’s more important than wealth, the fight goes out of Scrooge. His eyes shift away and he abruptly ends the conversation.

As we later see in Scrooge’s past, he loved a woman once. Speaking of, thinking of love disarms him and ushers in regret.

Observations After 34th Viewing of A Christmas Carol

Fred is Adorable

Scrooge’s nephew Fred, played by Roger Rees, initially made us giggle during his scenes. He’s just so positive, in an almost goofy way, and extremely excitable. Playing party games at home with his guests he gushes so enthusiastically that he trips over his words.

Through the years, Fred has endeared himself to us. His curly hair threatens to overpower his slender face, however his good heart does shine forth brilliantly. He never stops believing in the power of love and acceptance and he’s confident his uncle will come around someday. We love Fred.

Observations After 34th Viewing of A Christmas Carol

Mrs. Dilber Will Always Make Us Cackle

This earthy character, played by Liz Smith, steals the scene in which she is selling Scrooge’s bed linens in a future scenario. Her sly expressions and the way she words her sentiments makes us laugh every…single…time. We don’t even fight it any longer. We simply enjoy her few minutes in the film.

This dear woman has been a part of our Christmas celebrations for many, many years. I looked her up as I wrote this section and discovered the actress died two years ago on Christmas Eve, at the age of 95. Somehow that date seems fitting for her exit from this world into glory. Bless her.

Observations After 34th Viewing of A Christmas Carol

The Ghost of Christmas Future

The Netflix series, The Haunting of Hill House, affected our viewing of A Christmas Carol tonight. The creepy ghosts lurking about in Hill House made me peer into the shadows deep within Scrooge’s old mansion. If you’ve seen Hill House, you know what I mean. Barely detectable ghosts fill the dark places behind the main action in the story. Once you see them in an episode, you noticed them everywhere.

I peered harder into the backgrounds in A Christmas Carol. Although I didn’t see additional ghosts, I noticed how spooky that old house really is.

And the Ghost of Christmas Present, who has always bothered Adriel, made us think of Bent Neck Lady in Hill House. His creepiness rose considerably with that comparison.

Observations After 34th Viewing of A Christmas Carol

Honoring Christmas All the Year

I’m grateful for our 34th viewing of A Christmas Carol. I’m thankful as well that Adriel shares my love for this story. We look forward to our tradition each year.

Dickens’ characters and words inspire me, so much so that I had a shirt made with a quote from the movie.

MiliLou Styles created a long sleeved t shirt for me, with Scrooge’s tearful declaration toward the end of the story.

“I will honor Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year.”

His words signaled a change in his heart, which opened wide again. He became a joyful and compassionate man, the person he was always meant to be. I applaud his transformation every December.

The shirt will serve as a reminder of Scrooge’s journey. I think I’ll wear it throughout the year.

Observations After 34th Viewing of A Christmas Carol