Becoming Scrooge: A Christmas Carol

JAN / FEB 2012: BY CAITLIN HORTON

scrooge

“It was always said of him that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us!”

The curious thing about writing articles is that on occasion the author can pinpoint what the reader is thinking. Right now there is a decisive idea at the forefront of the mind that says “She’s writing about people being Scrooges.” Well, yes and no.

All my life I have grown up hearing the term “Scrooge” which in modern times refers to someone who is miserly, or as Dickens puts it “a tightfisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! A squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner!” And always, there’s some poor soul we know of who gets an honorary title of “Scrooge” come Christmastime, often tracing back to the lack of change in their pocket as contribution for bell-ringers’ buckets. But really this article isn’t about that poor person; it isn’t even really about people being miserly.

Instead, this article addresses the state of Ebenezer Scrooge at the end of the story and how people living today can emulate him. He was no longer the same selfish, heartless man he had once been. He looked and truly saw with open eyes the suffering and need that was ingrained in the city where he dwelt. More importantly, he responded.

It can be so easy come Christmastime, particularly when everything is going alright and the bank account has money in it, to stop seeing beyond the shopping list and that last minute, annoying gift that is so hard to track down. Or if there is something to be done for the less fortunate it involves buying a week’s worth of milk or a batch of chicks for a family in Kenya or Mongolia. It might even include pulling a tag off a tree in a store and getting the requested warm throw and magazine for a senior citizen. Of course, there is nothing wrong in that, either. Many a forgotten, lonely person has been made better by these gifts and felt warm love spread through their life.

But, what if Ebenezer Scrooge had decided to only help organizations and ignore those in his immediate sphere of influence? Tiny Tim, Bob Cratchit’s ill son, would have died, as shown by the Ghost of Christmas Present. In today’s somewhat “isolated individual” climate, it can be so much easier to buy a gift for someone living halfway around the world than help a person you know is in need. It might be a coworker, a friend, a neighbor, someone you know by name who is going through a rough time and needs aid. Sometimes helping that person might seem insurmountable. “They have their pride, too.” Or “They would never accept help from me.” Those two phrases can kill a good deed before it even begins to formulate. Indeed, Ebenezer Scrooge might have thought them as Bob Cratchit came in to work the next day but instead of listening to that small, doubting voice he jumped right up and raised the man’s salary!

Not everyone is in a position to raise salaries, but we can certainly raise morale, either by helping directly or anonymously. Therefore, I would encourage everyone, myself included, to look out for the opportunities to be an Ebenezer Scrooge to someone else’s Bob Cratchit. There is so much to learn from Dicken’s A Christmas Carol that it very nearly boggles the mind, yet I think this is one message that rings loud and clear: keep Christmas, not just on one day, but all through the year. Bless those around you, both near and far, and you in turn will be blessed. ♥

janfeb2012

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Caitlin Horton is a 20-something reader, seamstress, and history buff. She lives a life blessed in the knowledge that she is God’s child, and her life has a purpose within the scope of His plan. She encourages her readers to remember, every day can be like Bilbo’s “adventure” if you’re willing to take the “ordinary” and add some “extra” in front of it! She also blogs about her crafts!

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