Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol 170 years ago, but he may as well have written it today. As I read the Mickey Mouse version to my four-year old last night, I really started thinking about Scrooge’s friend, Jacob Marley, and how in death he dragged around the chains of his life.
Both Scrooge and Marley craved exorbitant amounts of wealth and felt very little compassion for the sick or poor. They hoarded their earnings like squirrels with their nuts.
As Scrooge flies around at night with all of the spirits, he learns how his concern with wealth not only drove away all of his loved ones but inhibited him from experiencing true happiness. Moreover, he practically malnourished the Cratchit children to death by paying his employee such pathetic wages.
After reading bedtime stories and tucking in the boys, I watched a very un-Oscar-worthy movie on the Hallmark channel about a mom who always thought she wanted to be rich, so she somehow climbs through her dryer into a world of wealth and luxury but void of true love. She spends the holiday season going to parties and drinking champagne but feeling very empty and unfulfilled. Ultimately, she desperately wants to go back to her old life where she struggled to pay the bills but had a loving family and simple pleasures.
During this holiday season, I encourage all of us to absorb the message Dickens was trying to convey. Find happiness and comfort in our hearts, in people, in love, in family. And perhaps most importantly, in ourselves.