A Christmas Carol Are Holiday Angels Blessing You
or Stressing You?
By Lynn Seiser
Scrooge woke up four times during the night. Each time he received a visit by a different ghost. The first ghost warned him of the other three. The second ghost showed him the pain of Christmas past. The third ghost showed the pain of Christmas present. The fourth ghost showed the pain of Christmas yet to come. A Christmas Carol is a favorite piece of literature. All school-age children are required to read it. The television networks play several different versions consistently and constantly throughout the holiday season. There are valuable and timeless lessons to learn. What could some of them be?
One lesson we can learn is that ghosts or even demons may be angels we resist. We can see from the story that each ghost had a very positive intention, to help Scrooge do a realistic assessment and inventory of his life. Many of us ignore the warning of the first ghost. We have ignored life so why not ignore the messenger? There are always warning messages. Minor illnesses may be a message that something is out of balance. This message can be seen as a stress if we resist, or a blessing if we accept it as a gift. The difference between stressing and blessing is the perception of the messages. Do ghosts think they are bad? No, they have a positive intent and are actually being very compassionate and loving. They are angels. It’s Scrooge’s resistance to the blessing that make it stressing.
So why did the ghosts present their messages in some stressful ways? Scrooge had lived his life on a belief in scarcity. He believed there was only so much time, money, and love to go around. He believed that if he gave something, anything, he would lose. He based his motivational strategy on fear and scarcity. Fear always manifests and perpetuates that which you are afraid of. Fear always makes sure you have what you are afraid of. Scrooge obviously had some poor self-esteem issues and did not feel worthy of the abundance of love so he lived by hoarding the scarcity of money. To reach Scrooge, the angels needed to motivate him by his own strategy, fear, and pain. They needed him to realize he lost more by hoarding than he would receive in return by giving.
The ghost, or angel, of Christmas past. As Scrooge reviewed his past, he saw only his own pain. The past helps us, the viewer, understand why Scrooge is the way he is. Perhaps, for the first time, we begin to see and develop compassion for the hurt child of his past. Awareness and acceptance of the past provides a valuable explanation, not an excuse. It is useful for the viewer of A Christmas Carol to develop empathy and compassion for the fear and pain that was behind Scrooge’s treatment of Bob Cratchet. Scrooge had been the recipient of the treatment he was now demonstrating. This is an all too familiar occurrence in daily life.
The ghost, or angel, of Christmas present. The rules and painful experiences of the past extend into Scrooge’s present life. We can see that by being so self-absorbed in his own pain, Scrooge is totally out of touch with the pain in others, especially the pain he is causing. The story confronts us with another child who deserves our compassion, Tiny Tim. Yet, does Tiny Tim make the same conclusions as Scrooge did from a painful childhood? Tiny Tim chose love. Scrooge chose fear.
The ghost, or angel, of Christmas future. Another lesson is the continuity between past, present, and the future. If we took a line and drew it from the past through the present, the direction and destination in the future is obvious. The real question is whether this is where you want to end up or not. The awareness and acceptance of what was and what is predicts the potential future we have. The angel blessed Scrooge with seeing the eventual outcome of his own fears and belief in scarcity. It was hard for him to accept. This undeniable awareness allowed a new perception to motivate him to shift away from an even greater fear, that things could and would get worse if he continued in his ways.
The awareness and acceptance of our personal ghosts of stressing turns them into angels of blessings. Awakening from a series of painful visitations, or dreams, Scrooge has a new perception of himself and life. Scrooge has turned his stressing with ghosts into a blessing from angels. Instead of choosing fear and scarcity again, Scrooge changed his choice to love and abundance. When a choice proves to be an error, choose again.
May the ghosts of our collective (not so distant) past transform our pain and suffering into the angel’s blessings of love and compassion for the future through awareness and acceptance.
From me and mine to you and yours, have a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season. May you always maintain the awareness of the blessing of giving love and compassion to others, and that by giving you also receive.
Thank you for listening, for the opportunity to be of service and for sharing the journey.
Lynn Seiser, Ph.D. is an internationally-respected psycho-therapist in Seal Beach, CA with more than twenty years of direct clinical experience in recovery counseling for offenders and victims of violence, trauma and abuse. He is known for his work in “holistic” recovery from addictions with an emphasis on “healthy relationships.” Lynn may be contacted at (562) 799-1371. You may also check out his website at WWW.members.aol.com/SeiserL/index.html
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