Scrooge is still with us
I have an incredible knack for driving the wrong way in parking lots.
Every time I roll into a parking lot I end up nose to nose with a vehicle, usually a truck that could crush my little SUV faster than a monster truck.
This usually leads to an impatient honk from the other driver and a sheepish smile and wave from me as I frantically crank the wheel to get out of the way.
While out Christmas shopping for my fiancé's youngest cousins, I found myself once again headed in the wrong direction with a monstrous truck barreling the wrong way at me.
For some reason the driver of the truck was unseasonably unhappy with me and my directional challenges.
He laid on his horn and started shouting and gesturing angrily in my direction.
Unfortunately for both of us there was nowhere for me to go. I sat in my car, embarrassed, not only for myself, but for the obviously stressed Scrooge whose blocked vehicle sat in front of mine.
My encounter with this modern day Scrooge this Christmas season is just one example of many that permeate our society during the holidays.
Unlike the original Ebenezer Scrooge from Charles Dickens' 1841 Christmas classic, who hides behind indifference to the holiday season, the modern day Scrooge hides behind indulgence.
Modern day Scrooges do not see the poor, hungry and hurting, even when they are so prominently displayed in front of them, whether it's in the form of a Salvation Army bell ringer, the giving tree just outside the sanctuary or the frazzled dad trying to get out of the lot after holiday shopping.
In the pressure to create the perfect holiday for our own families, we all can become a bit of a modern day Scrooge -- lost in want in the land of plenty.
Commercials, sales and the want of more drive our obsessive, capitalistic Christmas. We often forget the true meaning of Christmas: the birth of Jesus Christ, time spent with family, and compassion for those in need.
So whether you are driving the wrong direction in a Wal-Mart parking lot or just driving the wrong direction in general, take a minute to remember that compassion, patience, and Jesus' birth into the world still exist in the world, even if it means saying a prayer for the modern day Scrooge in all of us.
Carrie Draeger is a journalist and future pastor's wife in Cashmere, Wash. She attends Celebration Lutheran Church in East Wenatchee, Wash.