Christmas Carol (Postlude): AIG and Literary Humbug

This year I supersaturated in Charles Dickens to celebrate his bicentennial and used his Christmas Carol as part of my jollification. Whatever the state of Dickens’ soul, and no man can judge, he lived in a pervasively Christian country. His books are shot through with references to the Faith and he assumes the Christianity of all but his [Read More...]

Christmas Carol (X): Jollification

Scrooge repents. He repents even though he is unsure of salvation. He is sorry for his misdoings and no longer attempts to bargain with Justice. He accepts that he is wretched and does not just retreat from selfishness, but to positive charity. C.S. Lewis made the point that too many of us confused unselfishness with [Read More...]

Christmas Carol (IX): Ghost of Christmas Future

We discount Scrooge’s sins too steeply if we make him merely stingy. Scrooge’s stinginess made him a bad neighbor and subject of the Crown. This was his chief sin and the Ghost of Christmas Future reveals that the City is better off without him. His story is the reverse of that of George Bailey: it [Read More...]

Christmas Carol (VIII): Ignorance and Want

Christmas Carol has targets in mind and it isn’t Ebenezer Scrooge. Charles Dickens is after Ignorance and Want. Nobody, even Mr. Scrooge, is in the Ignorance and Want Lobby, but Dickens knows that many of us support both without intending to do so. My vices, small in themselves, added to the vices of my neighbors, can [Read More...]

Christmas Carol (VII): The Ghost of Christmas Present

Ebenezer Scrooge has refused to make merry on Christmas and so Christmas jests with him. Sinners are always serious when they should be merry, and trivial when they should be serious. Christmas Past reminded Scrooge of chances missed and Christmas Present will teach him of opportunities about to be squandered. The Ghost of Christmas Present [Read More...]

Christmas Carol (VI): Ghosts of Christmas Past

Unlike Ebenezer Scrooge, the memories of my Christmas past are happy. My parents worked hard to give us a holiday centered in Jesus and full of jollification. We went to Church, watched Christmas specials on television before video gave us even more control of our media lives, and practiced the American rituals of the season. [Read More...]

Christmas Carol (V): On Marley’s Message

He is a ghost, not a musician, old Jacob Marley, but his message, though less prominent on Google is more important to our times. Jacob Marley confronts a materialist comforted by his materialism. Scrooge lives in little world, one where death ends everything. Nobody is keeping score and so if Scrooge believes he is winner, [Read More...]

Christmas Carol (IV): Average Christmas

Dickens made me love the biffen so much I named a cat after the apple. His description of a grocer still makes me happy and has changed how I view my own grocery store: sometimes I just marvel at it. One virtue of Christmas Carol is how normal the vices and virtues in it are. Many [Read More...]

A Christmas Carol (III): Let Us Keep the Feast

I like giving gifts and I like receiving them. This must be understood or nothing wonderful can come of this post. Film versions add them, but gifts are not central to A Christmas Carol . . . feasting is. Mr. Scrooge gives turkey, a bowl of punch, and the pleasure of his company . . . [Read More...]

Christmas Carol (Part II): Improve the Union Work Houses!

What to avoid feeling like Scrooge? Recall all the tax money you paying to help the poor and you will feel generous, but be Scrooge. Why? When confronted with the demand for charity, Ebenezer Scrooge points out that his tax money goes to maintain government programs for the poor. Dickens was so successful in showing [Read More...]


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