Have you ever noticed that so many of our cherished holiday classics deal with transformation? Old Scrooge is the prime example, and George Bailey definitely fits the profile, (though his self-interest is less malicious). The Grinch must be mentioned of course, and even young Rudolph undergoes his metamorphosis from “Dud” to “Dude” in just under an hour.
I find it pleasantly edifying that we as humans root for the underdogs in these stories. I cannot think of another species that does. Usually with our animal brethren weakness is sought out and killed, ostracized, or left behind so as not to tax the tribe, (as with young Rudolph) yet here is a prime example of our human large-heartedness in action. We actually champion that odious, mean-spirited old codfish Ebenezer, waiting, as patiently as the Spirits do, and we rejoice when our heroes make their transformation from greed to gratitude, from darkness to light.
At this, the darkest time of the year, we surround ourselves with festive, colored lights, a tradition stemming from an earlier time, when the dark and cold of winter was much more keenly felt. In many cultures, the Winter Solstice, or the rebirth of the sun, was heralded with much joy and anticipation. Those lights we hang today serve to remind us that the season of darkness is transitory, and light will once again triumph over the dark--at least temporarily.
Transformation in Nature is inevitable, but in our own kind, we must make the choice. And as Scrooge himself so poignantly notes: “Men's courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead, but if the courses be departed from, the ends will change.”