Lessons from Scrooge on Keeping Christmas Well

“Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail…even Scrooge was not so dreadfully cut up by the sad event, but that he was an excellent man of business on the very day of the funeral…”

I am an incurable Charles Dickens fan! It is common for me to watch the same movie over and over during the holiday season. This is my favorite way to get my chores done AND enjoy a classic.  (I once heard that you should never do this because there could be psychological consequences.) Well, I’m guilty! Maybe that’s why my family says, “Mama, you ain’t right!”

Keeping Christmas Well - Scrooge

Not only did I watch It’s a Wonderful Life (Frank Capra’s classic tale) at least three times, but I watched A Christmas Carol (Charles Dickens’ timeless allegory) in as many versions as I could find. (I LOVE following the story line and reading the script along with George C. Scott! Maybe that’s a little messed up, too.)

Two days after Christmas, I considered whether or not I should begin taking down some of our Christmas decorations. I walked around the house in the dark while lighting all of our various Christmas candles. The house was quiet. With a steaming cup of coffee, I paused to think about why I balk so much at taking down decorations.

My mind turned immediately to the man whose heart and mind were altered by the events of his evening spent in reflection with three ghosts. Everything about Christmas alters you – one way or another.

In the Dickens story, early nineteenth century observations of Christmas involved: joyous carolers, smells of tea and coffee, the perfect plum pudding, the tender goose, the prize turkey, the crunch of snow, generous donations, singing and dancing around the piano, gathering of family and friends, and an overall cheerfulness toward all of mankind.

Though familiar to Ebenezer Scrooge in a past life, these things were consciously stuffed away never to be intentionally observed again…until the seven-year anniversary of his business partner’s death.

Like Ebenezer Scrooge, my attention can be focused intently on the business (or busy-ness) of life so as not to notice the preciousness of humanity.

Once Scrooge had been jolted back to reality by the three spirits, his realization was priceless:

“I don’t know what to do!” cried Scrooge, laughing and crying in the same breath; and making perfect Laocoon of himself with his stockings. “I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel, I am as merry as a school-boy. I am as giddy as a drunken man. A merry Christmas to everybody! A happy New Year to all the world!”

May we all seek to allow the miracle of Christmas to alter us heart and soul. May it be said of us, along with Ebenezer Scrooge, that we know how to keep Christmas well!

Are there ways you can actively lay aside the busy-ness of life to extend a kindness to the people around you?

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