Stave One, Day Three

When Scrooge’s nephew left, Scrooge remarked that his clerk, who made next to nothing—whose fault was that?—was crazy for even considering Christmas to be merry. “This lunatic” in letting the nephew out, let two other gentlemen in who were looking for a donation for the poor. Scrooge rebuffed their requests and continued to show us the true condition of his heart in the ensuing conversation. We knew he was a cold, evil man. And we’ve stated earlier that Dickens wanted us to consider that he was no different than a dead man. If we doubted the condition of Scrooge’s heart, his remarks about how the poor ought to go ahead and die to decrease the surplus population, we don’t have to doubt any longer. 

And we shake our head at Scrooge’s view of the world. A poor clerk who can barely feed his family believes Christmas is merry, and Scrooge thinks this is crazy. Yet this wealthy man would be happy if the poor would die so that he wouldn’t have to be bothered with them. When the two gentlemen left his office, Scrooge’s opinion of himself increased. In his own mind, he was the normal one, the sane one. 

When right is made to look wrong and wrong is made to look right, we necessarily call that evil. Before we get to the meat of the story, Dickens wants us to have no doubts about this Scrooge fellow. He looks at life backwards. And we wouldn’t want him as a friend. We wouldn’t like him. We should think maybe the nephew might be just a little crazy for even inviting him to dinner. Leave him out and let the rest of us enjoy the day!

In today’s culture, Scrooge would be cancelled. His treatment of everyone around him smacks of contempt and superiority. Grinch’s heart was two sizes two small. We’re not even sure Scrooge has one. Shame is the best thing for him, right? 

And then in that moment, I am reminded of Paul’s words to the church at Rome as he describes all of humanity’s plight: “Destruction and misery are in their paths” Romans 3:16. Paul, I think, would look at Scrooge and say, “Yep, that’s normal. Nothing new here.”

So some questions to think about today. Is Scrooge just like any other human being who shows up on planet earth? Does Scrooge say out loud what we sometimes think quietly in our minds? And why would the God of the universe purposefully choose to enter into a world full of Scrooges?

Tomorrow we will take a musical interlude (the story is called A Christmas Carol, after all) and look at the first song mentioned in the story: “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.”

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