I have been so thrilled to be able to read A Christmas Carol with my oldest son this year. Few writers seem so on the mark about the gospel with both their words and actions. I am always taken with the power of this Christmas story. Charles Dickens speaks truths about the Christian faith into a culture, an economy,and a time not so differentfrom our own. He also does it in a way that is deeply affecting.
I love the scene early in the book when Scrooge’s nephew stops by to invite him to Christmas dinner. Scrooge responds with harsh words when his nephew pleads with him to “keep Christmas.”
“Let me leave it alone, then,” said Scrooge. “Much good it has ever done you!”
I believe the nephew’s response is one of the most powerful Advent meditations I have read:
“There are many things from which I might have derived good by which I have not profited, I dare say,” returned the nephew, “Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas-time, when it has come round — apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that — as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!”