It is said every year, commercialism of Christmas is bad. Personally, I do not buy into the philosophy that somehow giving gifts is evil. For many, Christmas is representative of the greed that consumes Modern day America. Somehow to participate in Christmas is to be materialistic, missing the reason for Christmas, the birth of Christ. Christianity is far from hostile to business and Jesus warned us against greed, he showed no hostility to business much less businesspeople. When Bob Crachett wanted to add an extra piece of coal to the fire, he was turned down.
Charles Dickens writes about Scrooge’s home, “It was a low fire, indeed nothing on just a bitter night. He was obliged to sit close to it and brood over it before he could extract the least sensation of warmth from just a handful of fuel. The fireplace was s an old one built by some Dutch merchant long ago and paved all around with quaint Dutch tiles designed to illustrate the Scriptures.” Scrooge lived in an antiquated house and spent little to keep his home warm. Money was a scorecard to show his success and he denied himself the pleasure of his wealth for Scrooge selfishness applied to himself. Charity begins at home and if you are not willing to share with yourself, you most likely not be willing to share with others.
Christian thoughts fuel a thriving free market economy, for business depends upon truth and moral behavior. Without trust, a market economy cannot function. Contrast Scrooge with his nephew Fred who spends Christmas and enjoys the gaiety of the holiday with his wife and friends. Even Crachetts enjoy Christmas on Bob Crachetts meager salary for even the meager savings are no object in rejoicing the birth of Christ. For Scrooge he lived a life more amoral than moral as the ghost Marley reminds him, “Mankind should have been our businesses.” A successful businessperson needs to serve his customer, or he will not be successful.
Christmas represents the universal message of peace and forgiveness, and you do not need to be a believer in Christianity to buy into these virtues. “A Christmas Carol” is a story of giving and receiving, of redemption and reclamation. The spirits seek to reclaim Scrooge immortal soul and reform the previously selfish man, whose only thoughts never exceeded beyond his nose.
It is at Christmas that we give ourselves to others. It is the season we give each other gifts to show significant others, for your friends and for our spouses and children. Jesus’ birth was a gift for humankind, we can never pay back. Three kings arrive from the East with their own gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh for their new King. Christmas is the symbol of unconditional love and giving. A former manager once warned me that when lovers or friends begin to keep score, the relationship is soon over. Giving should be unconditional if you love someone and you should be appreciative when receiving gifts from others. Giving is a form of showing love and how much you value friendship with others. The world would be poorer and not just materially without Christmas.
As for Scrooge, he was redeemed. He learns his lesson well as Dickens writes, “Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all and infinitely more and to Tiny Tim, he did not, he was a second father. He became as good a friend as good as master, and as good man as the good city ever know… it was always said of him that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any possessed the knowledge.”
His change is what Christianity represents. He begins to invest in his business as he allows Bob Crachett to add more coal to keep the office warm and raises Crachett’s salaries. Christianity is about second chances, third chances, fourth chances and unlimited chances. It is about giving and receiving. Christianity represents those qualities as we seek love and forgiveness from those who are closet to us. As the prayer Our Father, “Forgive our trespasses as we forgive who trespasses against us. “As Christian, we can never repay the debt of our Father as he sent his only Son to destroy the power of Sometimes, we can repay the debt of others given us in. the past. We can share our bounty with others including those who are closet. Scrooge finds out that Charity begins at home and seeks the forgiveness of those who are closest to him. As he redeemed, he finds out that he becomes a source of good for that closet to him and to his community. He lives and because he chose life of charity, so does Tiny Tim.