Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Spirit of Christmas

Every Christmas season my preparations begin with a reading of Charles Dickens 'A Christmas Carol'. There is something about Dickens which makes me yearn to curl up by a fire. I want the scent of game pies and thick meaty stews, mulled wine and tangerine oranges. I want to sip egg nog and break off bits of rich, buttery fruit cake with my fingers and pop them into my mouth as I read.

A Christmas Carol is a moral lesson in miracles. It teems and seethes with life. Sadness, fear, danger, loneliness, sacrifice, perhaps none of these are impossible to cope with, but bleak hopelessness, and the cynicism that comes with believing in nothing, are soul destroying.

Dickens hated sham and humbug. False feelings and false friends are endlessly exposed in myriad ways in his work. It's difficult sometimes, with all the rampant consumerism raging around us, to push the trivial aside, and connect with something deeper. The truth of my own intrinsic vitality and vulnerability cry out for hope, for communion, for miracles. 'A Christmas Carol' enfolds me in a mystery and compassion which stretches far beyond my own heart.

Christmas, of all celebrations, is a time for real feelings, real friends, real food, and real memories. It is a time to celebrate the birth of Christ, a time for charity and compassion, a time of giving and receiving, a time of love. Scrooge discovered it through the agency of a benevolent spirit. For me, its joy and good will are heralded by the company of a good book.

1 comment:

  1. One of my favourites, too, Jo. And I love the old B&W film, starring Alistair Sim.