Mark Caserta: Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” offers perspective for us all

8 Dec

 

charles dickens

(Charles Dickens classic, “A Christmas Carol” offers a timeless reflection on life)


 

me

Mark Caserta is an opinion columnist and editor for Free State Patriot

December 8, 2018


 

Perhaps, we should all take some time to reflect on the chains we’ve forged in life this Christmas season.

The brilliance and imagery of the Charles Dickens classic, “A Christmas Carol,” offers a timeless reflection of the magical benefits of human kindness. Through the years, there have been over 50 different adaptations of Dickens’ story, each yearning to recreate the tale of an Ebenezer Scrooge character experiencing a life-altering epiphany of his self-centered denouement on others.

One of the very first portrayals of Ebenezer Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol”, was in 1935, when actor Seymour Hicks, toured England with his own, non-musical adaptation of the story through the late nineteenth century. My family and I have enjoyed it many times and consider it to be one of the most enjoyable ever during the Christmas season!

Of his tale, Dickens wrote,” I have endeavored in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it.”

And “haunt” us it has for over 150 years with its sustained relevance for mankind and its sobering look at the sanctity and purpose of life.

Ebenezer Scrooge was a man lost within his own maize of anxiety, stripped of his compassion for others whose significance diminished as his wealth and prominence grew. Yet, Scrooge, although unworthy of his journey of recompense, was given an opportunity to witness the chains he forged in life from the third person as he was accompanied on a journey by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come.

I can only surmise Dickens chose Christmas as the setting of his tale of repentance because of the depth of purpose he envisioned it had for his fellow man and the opportunity it offered for reflecting upon one’s life choices. Perhaps he, too, was convicted by the season.

I do, however, submit Dickens is prompting each of us to invoke similar introspection. What would your legacy be with those whom you’ve shared your life’s timeline?

How would your journey fare with the three apparitions with whom Scrooge shared his evening?

How sound are the choices you’ve made in the “past” regarding the care and compassion of your fellow man?

Yes, today’s life choices are exceedingly complex and follow a path dimly lit and laden with distractions commensurate to our times. But are they subject to a different standard?

A popular phrase over the years has been, “What would Jesus do”?

Psalms 25:4 says, “Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths.” More than ever before, we need a spiritual compass to help guide us each day in our decision-making.

What about the “present” day? As you woke this morning and prepared to interact with others, what was your motivation? Was it to serve your purpose or to serve the purpose of others? Which offers the greater reward?

James 1:19 tells us, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…”

No doubt, it would benefit us all to heed this simple instruction.

What about your “future”? Surely, thoughts of our future should consume us? After all, we’re taught from an early age to prepare for this period in life. Entities all around us work to influence our focus on preparing for the future.

But isn’t that exactly what Ebenezer did? Today is yesterday’s future! God doesn’t want us to be consumed with hoarding riches in this life. Matthew 6:10 advises, “Do not store up yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.”

God wants us to live each other and build our eternal riches in Heaven. Our life here on earth is “but a vapor” per the scriptures. But a precarious vapor if allowed to cloud our eyes to our purpose!

Ebenezer Scrooge had some ghostly mentors to influence change in his life. Dickens ensured his writings paved the way for his repentance by allowing time for Scrooge to alter his future.

Unfortunately, none of us have Dickens’ script guaranteeing our life tomorrow. Could tomorrow be too late for any of us to begin a new path, one pleasing to God and benefitting our brother or sister?

Perhaps, we should use Christmas, as Dickens did, to reflect upon chains we may have forged in life and begin eliminating them, one link at a time.

And perhaps, encourage others to do the same.

May God Bless us – every one!

Merry Christmas!

 

 

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