I am so deeply committed to the arts in any form for one simple reason: it is the one vehicle we have to take any circumstance, be it joyful or tragic, and turn it into something that can inspire anyone who comes in contact with it. One of my favorite examples of this is A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
Dickens’s tale makes him synonymous with Christmas. He grew up in dire circumstances, going to work in a factory at age 12 in order to support his family because his father had been jailed for debt. His early personal experience with poverty fueled his passion to use his writing to speak for people who couldn’t speak for themselves. Originally, he wanted to create a political pamphlet about poverty in Victorian England and instead decided to write A Christmas Carol because he felt it would have “20 times the impact of a political pamphlet.” He was right that it would have more impact. What he didn’t know is that it would remain in print for 172 years (and counting!), and become one of the most beloved texts and multi-media traditions of all-time.
So this Christmas, whether you’re listening to holiday music, reading a book like A Christmas Carol, or watching a holiday movie, let’s take a moment to recognize that the tough times we experience have the potential to be turned into something beautiful that could inspire people and help them persevere.