Christmas CarolA Christmas Carol
by Charles Dickens

Every December, for a half century, I’ve either read this book or listened to Daddy read it. It’s so familiar that I’d know instantly if a sentence was left out. What is there to say about something that’s simply a natural and recurring pleasure?

It’s one of the little miracles of human storytelling. All about love and hope, about blindness and the dawn of blinding light. It’s like the story of Saint Paul on the Damascus Road, or Saint Francis of Assisi and the leper. “So that’s it, then!  That’s what it’s really all about!  Now I get it”

The wailing ghosts outside Scrooge’s window aren’t the shades of the damned. They’re the saved, the ones who finally see what they should have seen sooner, who suffer because they saw too late. But is it too late? Is there really nothing they can do? Marley figured it out. He came to see Scrooge. He made a human connection again. He came in from the wailing cold and began again.

Never too late. Begin again at any moment. Right now, right here, for instance.

Ignorance and want, both waiting for rescue. My own ignorance doesn’t know it’s blind. My own hunger doesn’t know what it hungers for. But here’s the answer:  When I am blind, find someone who needs light. When I’m hungry, find someone who needs bread. Give away what I myself need. Then I will finally see what I needed and understand.

Life can wear us out with discouragement. It’s good, once a year, to remember what hope is all about.