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A Father's Christmas Carol

Updated: Jan 5

Stave one – a wonderful, terrible day  

Christmas:  It was the best of times, and the worst of times.  It was a season to be glad, a season to be sad.  It was a spring of hope, a winter to mope.  It was a time to live well, and a time of great hell.  It was full of laughter roaring, and moments of great mourning.  It was a time to be loved, a time to be lonely, a time to be with many, a time to be the only.  Christmas came every year, a time to look forward to and to fear. 

It is a time of great contrast, for fathers like Charlie, one moment so happy, then so gnarly.  He’d be up and then down, smile then frown, for poor Charlie would be swimming then he would drown.  His emotions were all over the place, he’d feel like a good father, then a disgrace.  For Christmas was great but oh so tough, the contrast of which made him feel weary and rough. 

One Christmas Eve, sat in his chair, another contrast appeared, his worst nightmare.  Whilst Charlies kids were up and excited, he was depressed due to past Christmas’s blighted.   So, he beat himself up, tore himself down and let his thoughts cause him to solemnly frown.  “How can I have so many reasons to be glad, yet this special time be nothing but sad”.   

Weary and tired, Charlie did pray, “Help me God, I don’t want to be this way”.  Worn out by it all, Charlie fell fast asleep, but he could not rest, God was about to take him deep… 


Stave two – The ghost of Christmas past

“Come with me Charlie.  Do not fear.  I need to show you something so things become clear.”

Drawn to his kindness, Charlie took this strangers hand, and out the window they flew to a near, far-away land.  For though they travelled only a few miles, they landed years before when there were no smiles. 

Charlie, here’s what I came to say:  You are who you are because your dad ran away”.   

Not this please”, Charlie protested.  “It was a long time ago, it’s a memory I have rested”.  

But the stranger saw his heart and he knew, that Charlies statement simply wasn’t true.  For on that cold, fateful Christmas Eve, his dad rejected him and chose to leave.  This left poor Charlie, then only five, with his poor heart broken, in a battle to survive. 

It was a long time a go and now I am a man”, said Charlie protesting at this stranger’s plan.  “It only gets me down now and again, and I only shut down when I can’t stand the pain”.  

The stranger agreed and yet came near, to whisper great wisdom into Charlie’s ear: “This is like a childhood scar on the old, it only hurts when it gets cold”.   

On they did travel, through Christmas’s gone, only stopping when things seemed to be wrong.  The mocking from his class about his dad he did miss, and the romances lost with the those he did kiss.  They saw the unpulled crackers from loved ones lost early, and the hurtful words from relatives so surly. 

“It’s no wonder dear Charles, Christmas gives you a heavy heart, for they were often ruined by the enemy’s dart”.  


Stave three – The ghost of Christmas present

What we just did was important my brother, but now I must hand you over to another”. 

And so, a new stranger did quickly come, with a new message for Charlie, who felt so numb.  “Charlie, my boy, it is time to see, how your past is catching up with thee”. 

Before Charlie could say, “that’s enough”, the stranger took him to see something tough.  Off they flew back to Charlie’s house, into the hallway to see his beloved spouse.  She was in tears on the phone to her friend, “Poor Charlie is broken, and impossible to mend”.  “It’s Christmas Eve and we are supposed to be happy, but his mood is so bad which makes us feel crappy”. 

Poor Charlie’s heart sank, he felt dismay, and it was made only worse seeing his children play.  His beloved daughter turned to her brother: “What’s wrong with Dad, he’s not as happy as mother.  He ignores us at will and does what he does. Maybe he doesn’t want to be with us.”  

It suddenly hit Charlie that he was an absent dad too.  That’s not what he wanted but what could he do?  

The stranger came close and spoke loud and clear, to make sure it was a message that Charlie did hear: “A broken heart when you are grown, will never be kept just yours alone.  Be brave and courageous and deal with your pain so that a nice family doesn’t lose their father again”.   


Stave four – The ghost of Christmas’s yet to come

The second stranger then quickly did part, leaving Charlie with a heavy heart.  But soon came a third who didn’t say a thing, he just pulled Charlie close and under his wing.  For where they were headed would hurt Charlie a lot, but he needed to be warned so he could stop the rot. 

Off to the future they did travel, and what Charlie saw caused him to unravel.  First and only a few  years down line, Charlie was now coping with spirits and wine.  His words had become slurred and very unkind, to the pain he caused his family Charlie was blind. 

Next, Charlies wife they did see, praying alone under the Christmas Tree: “In sickness and health I did commit, but Charlie’s behaviour makes me want us to split.  Til’ death do us part I know I did vow, but it’s clear my husband doesn’t love me now”. 

Charlie was startled and cried out to his wife, “That’s not true, you are the love of my life”. But he cried out in vain because she could not hear, this was a Christmas yet to come, in a future year.

The stranger then whisked Charlie away, years ahead to another Christmas Day.  There in a doorway, his grown-up son did stand, his bags were packed, an exit was planned.  As the snow fell, he walked to his car, leaving the front-door open, wide and ajar.  Out ran his kids, who cried out in pain, “Dad, don’t go, will we ever see you again?”.   

What are you doing my son?”, Charlie did say, “Your poor kids will never get over this day”.  Charlie sat down so hopeless and cross, and cried out to the stranger, “please stop this loss”.  But the stranger did nothing so Charlie could see, that in terms of the future he held the key.  


Stave six – a new hope

The stranger disappeared, his leave he did take, for now it was time for Charlie to wake.  To him this dream seemed so timely and strange, but Charlie woke knowing he had to change.  There was no time to wait, it had to be now, and because of the stranger’s wisdom he knew exactly how.  

Down by his foot his children did stay, so he got down with them and started to play: “My son and my daughter in you I delight, about you I do think all day and all night”.  Then Charlie got up and ran to his wife, “please know you will always be the love of my life”.  

Then in the corner of his eye Charlie did see, a letter for him under the Christmas Tree: 

Dear Charlie, we know we caused you a fright, when we visited you this Christmassy night.  But we came not unwelcome or uninvited, we were sent by the one whom you have delighted.  We are his messengers, sent with his utmost cares, to answer your most humble and earnest of prayers. 

Dear Charlie, you have much work to do, for how this story ends, is up to you.  We know your father leaving felt like the worst, but for your family this experience wasn’t the first.  For his dad before him was violent and drunk, leaving your fathers heart full of junk.  But just like your father, he was a good man, then something bad happened, that was not in the plan.  His Papa died early in the midst of the war, leaving his heart permanently broken and sore. To have no father leaves a man empty and sad, so sometimes he acts in a way that seems bad. 

This is the cycle we want you to break, for your wonderful family’s sake.  So, take action my boy, and break this curse, do it now before things get worse.  You can start by stepping back into the past, forgiving your father, so your pain doesn’t last.  That’ll help you to make the most of the present, spending time with your family will make their life pleasant.  And into the future the consequences do go, the great impact on your children, your actions will show.  They’ll grow up secure with a foundation of love, giving them the life that was designed for them above.  

We know what we ask will take great strength, but for your family, please go to this length.  It’ll will all be worth it, for one day you’ll see, your family now and yet to come, living happy and free.”

From that day forward Charlie did be, a great father and husband to his family.  As the years went by and his kids grew older, the responsibilities increased onto his shoulder.  For now when he sits down for his Christmas Eve nap, there are five Grandkids who jump into his lap.  Charlie smiled and pulled them in close, for this is the moment in his life he did love the most.  He looked up to the sky and soon did remember, how his life changed for the better that fateful December.   

God bless you everyone!

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