The following unsigned editorial first appeared in the Dec. 6 issue of the Rhode Island Catholic, newspaper of the Diocese of Providence.
Charles Dickens’ novella “A Christmas Carol,” which was published in 1843, is a story that transcends the time in which it was written. Even though it was a fictional story, Dickens depicted the cultural influences, steeped in Victorian mores, which formed the Western ideal for the celebration of Christmas.
The protagonist in the story is Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly London-based money lender, is described in the story as “a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner!” He represents today the person who hates humanity: He’s pro-choice, selfish, self-centered and looked at others as mere tools for his pleasure.
Scrooge was visited by the ghost of Jacob Marley, his old partner, who wanders the earth entwined by heavy chains and money boxes forged during a lifetime of greed and selfishness. Scrooge did not understand why Marley was in such a state of suffering stating, “But you were always a good man of business, Jacob.”
Marley cries out. “Business!” exclaims the ghost, wringing its hands again. “Mankind was my business! The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance and benevolence were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”
Scrooge would be later visited by three “spirits” who reminded Scrooge of the true meaning of Christmas. He became a changed man who made humanity his business.
As we prepare this Advent for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, let us be mindful of those who are struggling, suffering and looking to us for help. Charity is our business, and may we give generously to those who are needy during this season, imitating the love of God and love of our neighbors.
The views or positions presented in this or any guest editorial are those of the individual publication and do not necessarily represent the views of Catholic News Service, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, The Monitor or the Diocese of Trenton.