Christmas Wisdom From Ebenezer Scrooge

Scrooge and ghostI have been listening to an audio production of Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol. The one I’m listening to is a podcast performed by Patrick Horgan (very well done!).

Two things have stood out to me—

(1) The genius of Charles Dickens. Check out this brilliant piece of wit.

“Marley was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it. And Scrooge’s name was good upon change for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail. Mind! I don’t mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a door-nail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hand shall not disturb it, or the Country’s done for. You will, therefore, permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a door-nail.”

(2) The biblical message which comes through so vividly.

“But you were always a good man of business, Jacob,” faltered Scrooge, who now begin to apply this to himself.

“Business!” cried the Ghost, ringing its hands again. “Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”

It held up its chain at arm’s length, as if that were the cause of all its unavailing grief, and flung it heavily upon the ground again.

“At this time of the rolling year,” the spectre said, “I suffer most. Why did I walk through crowds of fellow-beings with my eyes turned down, and never raise them to that blessed Star which led the Wise Men to a poor abode? Were there no poor homes in which its light would have conducted me?” (emphasis mine)

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