The Real Business of Christmas

"Don't say anything please," retorted Scrooge. "Come and see me. Will you come and see me?"

The primary and most obvious proof of Scrooge's transformation is not simply his delight in Christmas, or his attendance at church, or even his joining his nephew's Christmas party. Rather, the proof that Scrooge is a changed man is seen in his exceptional generosity, both with the Cratchit family in particular and with all needy people in general.

So when Dickens concludes that Scrooge "knew how to keep Christmas well," he means more than that he abolished "Bah! Humbug!" in favor of "Merry Christmas!" Ebenezer Scrooge kept Christmas well by becoming "as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world." This goodness is seen especially in his generosity both at Christmas and throughout the year. He learned the truth that eluded Jacob Marley in this life, namely: "Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business." These became the business of Ebenezer Scrooge, even as they are the business of Christmas.

If you've been moved by the example of Mr. Scrooge to do a little more "Christmas business," there are many, many worthy charitable organizations that need your help in this season. By all means, do some special year-end giving. Be sure to do your Christmas business!


Mark D. Roberts, as Senior Director and Scholar-in-Residence for Laity Lodge, is an advisor and frequent contributor to A Presbyterian pastor, Mark earned his Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard University. He has written six books, including No Holds Barred: Wrestling with God in Prayer (WaterBrook, 2005). This series of reflections on A Christmas Carol were previously posted on his blog,, and are reprinted with permission.

11/30/2009 5:00:00 AM