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Morning over the bay

From Humbug to Happiness

Bill Button

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Bill Button, father of six and grandfather of more than twenty, is currently 82 years young. He’s been a school teacher, product designer and lifelong thinker and philosopher. Now Bill enjoys writing down his thoughts and advice for young people.

Christmas is here! I just saw Dickens' famous “Christmas Carol” again. Will Christ be born in your heart, as He was in old Scrooge’s heart? Will you and I repent of our loveless and selfish thoughts and actions? Will we change our attitudes and actions toward other people like Scrooge did? Will our humbug be turned to happiness?

When Scrooge experienced the past, present, and future Spirits of Christmas, he realized the real joy of life was in loving, caring, and sharing human relationships. The materialistic, legalistic “Mammon” spirit he had given his life to was a dead end, a negation of life.

There is something of the old Scrooge in all of us. That is why we understand Scrooge, and rejoice with him when he chooses joyful life over self-centered death of the spirit.

When Jesus began his ministry he was tempted by the offer of worldly wealth and power over other people. He refused. He would only serve God. He would only love God and do His will. That will is to “love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

Our world today is being dominated and controlled by many Scrooges who love wealth and power over others more than they care about the well-being of their fellow men, women, and children. They fail to understand the difference between real wealth and money wealth. Real wealth is what everyone needs to live decently, like food, shelter, clothing, etc. The idea of “enough” applies to real wealth. Money wealth knows no limits. It encourages endless greed, and  easily turns people into parasites on the real economy of life. That is what happened to Scrooge. He was dead to love and life, until Christmas changed his heart and gave him true life and joy.

We should not be surprised that the old Scrooges are destroying this Earth that we need for life. Their way is always the way of death and destruction. The fruits of this are gross economic inequality, global warming, climate change, species loss, and perpetual warfare.  We see and hear evidence of this every day. Many worship the biblical golden calf. Like King Midas of Greek mythology, they will find that the golden touch ultimately destroys all life, including their own.

Some of these Scrooges point to their philanthropy, their charitable donations, to justify their selfish, arrogant, and egotistical life. In reality their philanthropy is proof of a guilty conscience.  It is an effort to buy the approval of their fellow humans.

Real giving is like the biblical widow’s mite. Real giving does not come out of your surplus. It comes out of your living, your substance. Christmas is about giving love from the heart, with thoughts and deeds.

Every person has an obligation to life. Life is a gift to each one of us. No one created him or her self. A person’s life is an interconnected part of all life on this Earth, past, present, and future. We each have a responsibility to promote life and to pass it on to future generations.  It is selfish to do otherwise.

Scrooge met the Spirit of Christmas, the Creator’s love for mankind, and he was changed by it. He was freed from his slavery to business and materialism, freed to receive and give love.

Choose life, not death! Let the spirit of Christmas enter your heart, and transform your humbug to happiness.

Scrooge and Tiny Tim in the street
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