According to biographers, Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol as a commentary on the deplorable child labor conditions in England. You can read the history here. For now, let’s discuss the meaning of the story.
I’m sure you’re familiar with A Christmas Carol, especially the ending, when Scrooge is scampering around his bedroom as happy as an angel, as merry as a schoolboy, and as giddy as a drunken man.
The vision of George C. Scott’s wiggling legs aside, what is the lesson A Christmas Carol wanted to teach the reader? Before I go on, you must understand one thing…this is just my interpretation of the Dickens’ classic, but I like to believe Charles would nod and agree. I believe the moral of A Christmas Carol is that we can only find happiness when we tend our fellow travelers on this wonderful blue planet called Earth. I’m including animals along with people.
You see, Scrooge was happy not because he had been given time to make lots more money or squeeze more emotional blood from Bob Cratchit but to bring joy to others. To help others.
Remember the prize turkey in the butcher’s window?
Scrooge didn’t buy the turkey for himself. He didn’t dance around and sing ‘I’m going to eat turkey, yes I am.’ No. He sent the turkey to Bob. He gave freely and that brought him happiness. Dickens understood the science behind obtaining happiness long before psychologists studied happiness.
Here, let me allow his ghostly voice to say it best.
According to medical research, Scrooge probably lived for another thirty or forty years because he embarked on a journey of unselfish behavior. Okay, I’m stretching the year-factor, but you get the point. Check out this article: https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/5_ways_giving_is_good_for_you
It doesn’t take a ton of time or money to be kind. Performing a simple act of kindness each day will get you started and, as a reward, you’ll be happier than you are now. Honestly, are you happy right now or could you use more joy in your life? That new phone you’ve been wanting won’t do it. Nor will the new shoes, or the big house filled with (sorry, but let’s be honest) crap.
Here are five ways to get started:
- When you’re paying for your coffee pay for the person behind you too.
- Clean out your closet and donate gently used items to a local charity.
- Help your child select gently used toys he or she no longer plays with and donate the items to a homeless shelter.
- Purchase a bag of pet food and place it in the pet shelter bin located at your local market.
- Let a stranger go in front of you in line.
Notice money isn’t required for some of the things on the list. Or, horror, TIME, that constant excuse for not being able to do kind gestures; ‘I don’t have the time.’ Whine, whine, whine.
Happiness, or joy if you prefer, is contagious. By doing something nice you’ll feel joy and you’ll spread that joy to others who will spread joy and soon the world will be a nicer place in which to live. There’s even a song to inspire you.
Ghosts of Christmases Long Past They dance around my chair Mindless of the fire crackling in the grate They twirl and spin And sway Each one adorned in Christmas finery Bright reds Sparkling golds Rich greens Each whisper of secrets long buried Secrets better left alone Tales from Christmases long past My past I hold many regrets from those days Too few hands held Too few cheeks kissed Too few moments cherished Scrooge would get it 'Dance with your ghosts,' he would tell me Twirl and spin with them For the ghosts are there to show you the Christmases of yet to come.
So, go out and make someone, or some animal, or the planet happy. And have a blessed Yule (or Christmas if you prefer) and may your ghosts be kind.
Blessed be. :}
Mi manchi, mia amata immortale.