You remember Charles Dickens immortal story "Christmas Carol." The miserly Scrooge grows increasingly unconcerned with others and isolated until, one night, he is invited by supernatural visitors to change.
The "Ghost of Christmas Past" takes him by the hand and shows him how his life has unfolded and how his self-centered decisions have led him to his present unhappy state.
The "Ghost of Christmas Present" takes the blindfolds off his narrow view of life so he can clearly see how he has insolated himself from the struggles of others.
Finally, the "Ghost of Christmas Future" portrays to Scrooge what is likely to happen if he persists along his present course. It is an ugly sight.
Then...how does the story end? Scrooge wakes up. That's right -- he WAKES UP! When he awakens from his slumber he also awakens to the way things are. He wakes up and changes! We really CAN change.
The name of Scrooge should never be associated with a miserly person. That was the OLD Scrooge.
But he woke up! He became generous and jovial. He realized that he could enjoy life. He discovered love — by giving it away! Nobody "kept Christmas" like Scrooge, Dickens tells us.
And that's what change is -- waking up. Waking up to the fact the things really CAN be different! We CAN change.
Have you noticed — for some people, it's all about them; for others, it's all about you? Author and speaker Leil Lowndes puts it this way:
"There are two kinds of people in this life. Those who walk into a room and say, 'Well, here I am.' And those who walk in and say, 'Ah, there YOU are.'" I know which I am happiest to see. If you want friends, show an interest in people around you. No one is without a friend who knows how to be a friend.
William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army in 1865, understood this principle. A story is told that, one Christmas season, he tried to think of a way to encourage all of his officers. The Salvation Army had seen rapid growth by this time they were spread throughout several countries.
He decided to send each one a telegram. The cable consisted of a one-word message: "OTHERS"
His organization grew around that motto. I can hardly think of a better motto for a life.
A life dedicated to "others" is one that shouts THERE YOU ARE. It is a life that is full and happy and, best of all, worthwhile.
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