“I wear the chain I forged in life….I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it.”
–Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
Okay, this is probably pretty strange to have as your favorite Christmas quote. I’ve even written about it before, but it doesn’t matter I still love it. However, I think the thing I love most about A Christmas Carol is that it isn’t just about the magic of Christmas during December, it’s about a man who learns about the magic of giving and caring for others that he carries with him all year long. I love Christmas movies, they’re sweet good fun that makes me happy, and something special to look forward to this time of the year. For some reason I just can’t bring myself to watch them in other time no matter how awesome they are. Yet, with most of them it tends to be just about something magical that happens then, and doesn’t really focus on the things that Christmas is supposed to be about. Peace on Earth, good will toward mankind. Which isn’t something that only happens in the month of December, or at least it shouldn’t be.
My coworker came in today and was talking about how happy he was that the person in front of him in the line at McDonalds bought his meal, because he’s actually broke but you know you gotta eat. He didn’t understand why they did that, and apparently hadn’t heard about these things people do, mainly at Christmas. I explained it to him, and he still seemed a bit perplexed. Which is sad. Someone doing something nice, albeit without really knowing whether the person behind them really needs help paying for their meal or not, shouldn’t be a perplexing experience. It should always be considered nice, and something we need to show appreciation for, because we definitely should never take such for granted, but it also shouldn’t be considered so out of character for people in general.
Whether you believe in an after life or not, I think something to be considered is the weight of your actions. The chain we’re building around our neck may be far heavier than we realize, and the weight may be dragging us down to levels we never would’ve imagined us sinking to. No one starts out in life thinking so little of the people around them. So ready to pass on by terrible things they see, and pretend it’s not happening because they don’t want to get involved. We’ve become a society who is quicker to take a selfie of themselves at some terrible scene to show that we were in fact there, than we are to step up and take action to help others. I watched a video done by Burger King that showed people would go up and complain and be so upset if they got a burger that looked like someone had smashed it to pieces, but they would sit there and watch a kid be bullied and messed with and have his food taken from him. Because that wasn’t their problem right?
The Christmas spirit of giving and loving is a magic that should be carried with us all year round. We should want to do more for those around us. People constantly talk about how the world should be a better place, and they can’t understand all the terrible things that happen in it. The best way to make the world better is to start with yourself, because as you become better then all your interactions will be better, and you’ll help make the people around you better as well. It may not seem like a huge monumental change, but change rarely happens in some huge sweeping motion. Change takes time, and effort, and if we’re willing to do so then I think we would free the world of the chains that weigh it down so much.