Ebenezer Scrooge did not have a happy life. He was rich with money, but was poor in many other ways. He had a lonely existence and couldn't feel joy.

When Scrooge's nephew Bob Cratchit wishes him a "Merry Christmas," Scrooge responds, "Christmas is just another day." He spouts "Bah humbug!" to anyone who shows the holiday spirit.

All of Ebenezer's days seemed the same to him - work, eat, sleep, and be grouchy. He bemoans buying presents, complains about decorations, hates carol singing, and shuns family gatherings.

How can we fix a Scrooge? Is it truly possible? Can it be done without the aid of supernatural spirits? In Charles Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol,' Scrooge Is visited by three ghosts who help him change his ways. They appear to him and force him to see the past, present and future.

By the end of the Dickens tale, Scrooge changes miraculously. He buys a large Christmas goose for the Cratchit family, gives money away to a charity, gets emotional about little crippled Tiny Tim and even joins his nephew's family for a holiday dinner.

I'd wager a guess that most of us don't have three ghosts hanging around to help us fix our Scrooges. We have to figure out a way to do that on our own.

People who think that Christmas is "just another day" are probably also not thrilled with July 4th, Thanksgiving, New Year's Eve or even their birthday. Special times don't make an impact. All 365 days are the same.

True, every day contains the same 24 hours. Every day has a sunrise and a sunset. What's so different about a day we call "Christmas?"

The difference, dear reader, is not in the day, but in us. If we decide that this 24 hours will be important to us, the day takes on a new meaning. The effort we put into planning, preparing, and organizing for a special day makes that day stand out.

Antoine Ste. Exupery, a French author, wrote a wonderful book titled "The Little Prince." One of the lines from that book is - "It's the time we have wasted on our rose that makes our rose so important."

Any gardener knows that roses are delicate and have a short life. Some blossoms bloom and fall within 24 hours. But, fanatic rose gardeners will spend days, weeks, and months caring for those delicate plants just so they can see the short-lived lovely blossoms.

That's what Christmas needs to be for a Scrooge - a short-lived, beautiful blossom of a day. It is a 24-hour period that can refresh the soul, bring family together in love, and give the human heart a reason for celebration.

That's what Scrooge forgot. He forgot that Christmas - or any other special day - is not an EXTERNAL event. It's an INTERNAL one.

Holding Christmas in your heart can change you. Even a Scrooge can be fixed when love works its magic.

I WOULD LIKE TO WISH A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL MY READERS. May 2013 be filled with love and joy.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO CONTACT DR. SMITH, SHE CAN BE REACHED AT HER EMAIL ADDRESS: JSMITH1313@CFL.RR.COM [1] OR IN CARE OF THIS NEWSPAPER.