Sanstorm’s Advent 15
Behind door fifteen: Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol”.
I re-read “A Christmas Carol” last winter and it was certainly the right weather for it. Every sentence a joy. However, today I will give you a joyless quote from the story that is from the lament from the Ghost of Jacob Marley:
“Business!” cried the Ghost, wringing 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!” (…)
“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 lead the Wise Men to a poor abode? Where there no poor homes to which its light could have conducted me?”
Sometimes I am annoyed that Dickens’s story misrepresented “the real meaning of Christmas” and almost every story or movie on that theme created since then has been polluted: it seems that good news of great joy is just kind of random, rather than specifically to do with Jesus coming, which is, of course ACTUALLY the real meaning of Christmas: Emmanuel – God Is With Us.
However, I like this lament by the Ghost, who has the benefit of hindsight, an eternal perspective – seeing his life in context and seeing that the point of his life could have been so much more than getting himself through it. Jacob Marley has learned too late that his life should have been about compassion, influence for the good and love.
Which I suppose it pretty good, as morals of stories go.