Every Christmas I read Charles Dickens’, A Christmas Carol, and am in Stave 4 now. It is the story of a conversion from miserliness to generosity, from self-preoccupation to other-directedness. One assignment I give when I teach about conversion is to examine this Christmas book to determine if the student thinks Scrooge’s conversion is a Christian conversion. Some of you might have comments on that.
What struck me this time in reading the book was how Scrooge had to come to terms with who he was, who he is, and who he might become if he does not change the course of his life. That story of going back into his past to see how he had been treated is insightful, but no scene does it for me quite the way his lost love story does it. Scrooge wants to marry a young woman, and they had been in love, but she came to terms with what controlled Scrooge’s life: Gain. The young woman releases him “for the love of him you once were” (35, in my Oxford edition).
It was that decision, Scrooge’s that is, to live for Gain that turned that young man into a miserable miser.
Well, I hope you find time to read A Christmas Carol.