Spirits of the season can transform us all

Phil Castle

I’m haunted by the ghosts of Christmas. It’s an experience that’s delightful, not frightful — one of fond memories, grateful appreciation and optimistic expectation.

To plagiarize a bit more, I’d like to imagine I’m like Ebenezer Scrooge, the protagonist of the famous Charles Dickens tale. Not the miserly recluse, mind you, but the benevolent extrovert made so by the spirits of the season.

Maybe I’m either hopelessly naive or naively hopeful, but I believe Christmas affects most people that way. They’re more giving, more sociable and more cheerful. We all could all use more of that, couldn’t we? Especially as an antidote to a ravaging pandemic and rancorous politics.

A stroll down memory lane evokes vivid recollections of Christmases past.

I was 5, snuggled into bed on Christmas Eve and too excited to sleep. Suddenly, there was loud thump on the roof above my bedroom as if a heavy object landed there. A sleigh perhaps? I squeezed tight eyes as big as saucers, fearful even a furtive glimpse of Santa outside my window would send him away before he could complete his delivery. While I’ll concede the possibility it wasn’t Santa, I remain convinced otherwise.

Childhood Christmas mornings brought joyous discoveries. I was as amazed as I was thrilled. It was … magic.

As a parent, I discovered even more thrilling moments in watching my two sons tear into gift-wrapped packages.

I was spoiled. My children were, too. But it wasn’t so much the material things I received or my sons received that made the experiences indelible. I can’t remember now some of the things I believed back then I needed so badly. Rather, they were the moments when dreams came true.

Christmases present bring still more gifts in the form of cherished relationships.

There’s no better time than the holidays to extend well wishes and express gratitude to those who do so much. Especially to those who make my job at the Business Times easier and more enjoyable.

To that end, merry Christmas and happy new year to my boss, Craig Hall. He not only makes it possible for me to do what I do, but also gives me unbridled freedom to do so.

Season’s greetings to Alowetta and Marc Terrien, the indefatigable couple that conjures the Business Times website out of Thin Air. Greetings as well to Kitty Nicholason, who builds many of the ads that appear in the paper.

Holiday wishes to the columnists who so generously share their time and talents: Janet Arrowood, Phyllis Hunsinger, Patti Reece, Paula Reece, Marcus Straub, Rebecca Weitzel and Tim Whitney. That’s not to mention the good folks with Bray Real Estate; Dalby, Wendland & Co.; Mesa County Public Health; Monument Health; and the Western Colorado Human Resource Association.

Feliz Navidad to the individuals and organizations who help the editor of a business journal report on business, among them Robert Bray, Keira Bresnahan, Kayla Brown, Robin Brown, Curtis Englehart, Mara Hardy, Celia Kohn, Jon Maraschin, Karen Martsolf, Stacey Mascarenas, Annette Miller, Mike Moran, Kelly Murphy, Diane Schwenke, Fran Stephens, Tamara Vliek and Andrew Weber as well as the Business Incubator Center, Grand Junction Economic Partnership and local chambers of commerce. Cheers as well to Scott Green and the team at Colorado Mountain News Media that prints the paper.

Happy holidays to the businesses that advertise in the Business Times and provide the financial wherewithal that keeps the operation in operation. Your support has never been more important — or appreciated.

Most of all, I wish Christmas cheer and new year prosperity to the readers of the Business Times. You remain the reason I do what I do.

As for Christmases yet to come, who knows what they’ll bring?

Looking back with 2020 vision, the year was tragic for some and challenging for nearly everyone. I remain optimistic, though, a happier new year awaits. I base my outlook in part on the promise of vaccines to slow the spread of COVID-19 and the economic rebound that could follow. But I  also base my assessment on the resilience and innovation I’ve witnessed.

Presented with the grim possibilities for his future, Scrooge changed his ways to embody the spirit of Christmas. It’s a cautionary tale. Never underestimate the influence of Christmas or, for that matter, the power of transformation.

Let me close with a few more words from Dickens: God bless us, every one.

Phil Castle is editor of the Business Times. Reach him at phil@thebusinesstimes.com or 424-5133.