Don’t you hate when someone has a wonderful time without you?! They went to Disneyworld, on a cruise or to a concert and had the best time of their lives and show you all the pictures but you weren’t there. They gush and gush, not even TRYING to contain their excitement and details. You smile, doing your best to not picture yourself with them. It’s tough, but that’s exactly what I’m going to do to you now!
My Mom and I just saw A Christmas Carol at the Jenny Wiley Theatre in Pikeville and it was awesome! I laughed and I cried, being swept away to a time long ago. I wish you would have been with us!
We started a Christmas tradition last year with White Christmas. My Mom loves everything and is never short on enthusiasm (I get some of mine from her), so I love, love, love going places with her! We had not been to the new location in downtown Pikeville but were impressed right away. As we entered the theatre, we passed a live orchestra. (Wow!) Finding our seats, we marveled at the way the building had been transformed. The set was beautiful! And the costumes…!
We go way back with White Christmas, knowing the songs and most of the script by heart. It was a pleasure seeing it there, and it was so close to home! Afterward, we chatted about what we liked best and decided then and there that it would be our new tradition: a play every Christmas!
As this Christmas approached we were focused on attending another play. But with so many things going on, the only time we could go was the very last show! (I was so afraid something would come up!)
We parked in town, reminiscing about years ago. After buying refreshments, we found our seats. (We were the first one’s there!) The set was magnificent! We wondered about how they built and painted it!
People began to trickle in and soon the seats were filled. When the music started, our hearts began to race. I was so glad the lights dimmed. I know I had a super goofy grin on my face. It always affects me the same! (My grandfather took my sister and me to see our first JWT play in 1978. I can still remember some of the songs!)
I have seen “A Christmas Carol”, or versions of it, for years and years. I had purposely NOT watched anything like it this year, though several were on television this week. I wanted to save my focus for the play. From the first scene I was spellbound. Rob Summers who played the part of Scrooge was masterful. I am still in awe. As cheesy as it sounds, he was BORN for the role. The rest of the casting was perfect, as well! The entire company was phenomenal! We were wonderfully swept away to London in the mid 1800s.
It’s a story we all know well: Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly old man, is solely focused on his wealth and nothing else. He spreads gloom instead of Christmas cheer and is hardest on his poor clerk, Bob Cratchit. Scrooge is visited (and scared) by the ghost of his former partner, Jacob Marley, and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. Over the course of one night, he is spirited away to see his youth and once-love Belle, how people really felt about him along with the meager life of his clerk Cratchit, and how things would be in the future. He is horrified and repentant, begging for a chance to change his evil ways.
Scrooge is surprised to be back in his bedroom on Christmas morning. He finds that he still has time. Time to help others, spread good cheer, and be a better man.
I was silently bawling at this point. It had always been just a story to me-this Christmas Carol and Scrooge. But suddenly it had spiritual meaning. Scrooge had seen his past, his decisions and his mistakes and wanted to change! He had seen the error of his ways and knew there would be no future if he continued on in the direction he was headed. He had a future now that would be different! He would care about others and FOR others, helping not just with his money, but with his hands and heart.
It’s a redemption story PERFECT for Christmas, for that is exactly what we do when we surrender to Christ! We look at our past, knowing it leads to nowhere and turn from our ways. We are not visited by the three spirits of Christmas as Scrooge was, but by the Holy Spirit! And then we pray, asking for help! We get a new start like Ebenezer, but better! Mr. Scrooge is a fictional character, while we are not!
The cast came out for a bow. We stood and clapped for a long time!
My Mother and I-plus everyone in the audience-left smiling, feeling…Ummm…it’s hard to explain. We had been transported for a time, and seen the past, the present and the future. We saw a hard man changed by the truth. And we were all better for it. It was a Christmas blessing!
Tiny Tim’s last words…”And God bless us everyone!” still rings in my ears. Oh, He has! He sure has!
Dawn Reed is a columnist for The Floyd County Times.