Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Christmas Carol

Years ago I heard a man, who I very much respect and admire, mention that he reads three pieces of literature every year during the Christmas season.  One of those was A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens.  I have since made this part of my personal Christmas traditions, and my appreciation of the season has been greatly enriched for these simple efforts!  I have listed below some of my favorite quotes and passages from the book:

"...for it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child himself."  This quote comes as the Ghost of Christmas Present shows Scrooge the festivities of his nephew and his friends, who lose themselves as young children in their games.  How deftly Dickens uses the scene to call to our remembrance the Savior and the true meaning of Christmas!  It may be that this passage struck me ever more strongly because as I read it, several of my children played loudly and cheerfully at my feet. 

"'Men's courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead,'" said Scrooge.  'But if the courses be departed from, the ends will change.'"  In this statement, Scrooge addresses the stoic Ghost of Christmas Future hopefully.  He has seen where his present course will lead if he does not make a radical course change.  By now, he has purposed in his heart to make such a departure.  I may be reading too much into the dialogue here, but I hear Scrooge's voice trembling as he speaks these words.  The idea of true, lasting change is a daunting one, and requires bravery - which Scrooge demonstrates in the next quote. 

"It sent a pang across his heart to think how this old gentleman would look upon him when they met; but he knew what path lay straight before him, and he took it."  Toward the end of the book, Scrooge sees a man who visited his office earlier soliciting charitable donations.  Scrooge coldly turned him out, disparaging the entire endeavor.  At this moment, Scrooge has decided to cast off the miserly, uncaring man.  Here he opportunity presented a chance to repair a past mistake.  But, recalling his past behavior, he feared how the man would react upon seeing him.  The reader rejoices, however, as he proceeds in spite of that fear and bravely steps down the new path he is determined to follow.

This wonderful book contains many other uplifting quotes and passages, and it's too short to justify any excuse for not reading it! 

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