Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Other Story

The original plan was to write a tract. Outraged at the social callousness of a Christian nation tossing away whole populations as surplus garbage, the author sat and thought, and the more he sat and thought, the less likely it was a tract would come.

Why not a story instead?

Why not a ghost story?

Written quickly, on a single manuscript that probably gave the printer nightmares, the short novel arrived in time for Christmas, 1843, and became not just a national treasure, but such a part of our cultural currency, we forget it was and is nothing more or less than the product of human imagination.

Yet, for all that, it still has the power to move people to tears, and rage, and joy - because for all their particularity and limits due to historical circumstances, the characters are all recognizable human beings. Even the Spirits.

If you have a couple hours, sit and read A Christmas Carol. Hear the words of the Second Spirit as he lectures Scrooge on the callousness of his dismissal of "surplus populations", millions of whom are more worthy to live than this groping, clutching, grasping, covetous old sinner.

Yet, he, too, is worthy of love, and yet another chance at life. Which is the real meaning of Christmas, after all. All of us, and each of us, get as many second, third, fourth, etc., chances as we need - because God never gives up on us, but in God's time will make clear to us how dear we are.

Even if it hurts.

So, as Tiny Tim observed, God Bless Us, Everyone.

Virtual Tin Cup

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