by Deborah Steele Hazen
“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach.” – Ebenezer Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens.
Scrooge only learned the lessons of the spirits of Christmas past, present and future, and made that pledge to put them into practice all year round, after a horrifying night that began with the ghost of his former partner Jacob Marley – who had been as greedy, miserly and self-centered as Scrooge himself – and continued with the visitations of the spirits of Christmas past, present and future. Those spirits taught Scrooge the errors of his ways and the future that awaited him if he did not “honour Christmas and keep it all the year.”
“Oh, tell me I may sponge away the writing on this stone!” Scrooge begs the last and most frightening of the spirits – that of Christmas Yet to Come.
Not unlike Dickens’ classic story, the communities served by this newspaper in Northwest Oregon, have a cast of characters that spans the range of human goodness and not-so-goodness. Christmas time brings the hope that none of us are beyond redemption.
We are very fortunate to have some among us who honor the spirit of Christmas throughout the year.
Neighbors Helping Neighbors
We would bring our readers’ attention to Toby and Kara Harris, the owners of Fultano’s Pizza in Clatskanie and Scappoose, who have launched a “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” drive.
While they announced their pledge to match community donations up to $5,000 to Turning Point Community Service Center this holiday season, they emphasize that the intent of the “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” campaign is not just to help financially-struggling people at Christmas time – when many of us are moved to do so – but throughout the year.
Individuals, organizations and churches interested in participating may make contributions to the Neighbors Helping Neighbors fund by mailing donations to Turning Point, P.O. Box 773, Clatskanie, OR 97016; or dropping them off at Fultano’s Pizza or Sterling Bank – Clatskanie branch.
With the idea of helping those in need throughout the year with utility bills, rent, prescriptions, gas for medical appointments or job interviews, etc., Toby and Kara are inviting other local businesses and industries to also make a matching contribution of some kind.
After learning the lessons of Christmas Eve, Scrooge was able to change his life and his future, and, according to Dickens, “it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God Bless Us, Every One!”