What is Christmas to you? Is it your cue for spending money on gifts, entertainment, eating and drinking? Is it the time to hang up flimsy tinsel in blinding scarlet and green? Is it the occasion for gorging on turkey, Christmas cakes, puddings, and other traditional dishes?
Or do you actually celebrate the ancient birthday of a baby named Jesus, the saintly figure of a religion called Christianity?
What is Christmas to those who can’t afford to spend a fortune on buying presents and feasting; those who have no idea who Jesus Christ is; those who are too steeped in the grief and worry about getting a full meal, and warmth in the cold water, too bother celebrating?
A Christmas Carol tells the story of an old miser, who cared not a fig for people poorer than he was.
On Christmas Eve, while down the length and breadth of Britain, people plied each other with warn blessings, children sang carols on the cobbled streets, and everyone prepared to feast in honour of the coming Lord, Scrooge returned alone to his empty unfurnished house, just as he had done on any other night in the year.
Scrooge was malicious to his last blood relation alive: his sister’s son, a man called Fred. Earlier that evening, Fred arrived to invite his old uncle to Christmas dinner: a likable, robust, genial young person. Scrooge, in his contempt for a lad who didn’t know the value of money, drove him away from his door.
The miserable moneygrubber had no friend. The person closest to him was his clerk, Bob Cratchit, whom Scrooge sent home on this fateful night, with a meager payment and no season’s greetings, shivering from head to toe with fatigue and cold. Bob had a large family at home and many children, but Scrooge ‘s wages were such that they all went hungry. The family, from Bob’s wife to his smallest son, hated Bob’s employer: the mean Mr. Scrooge with a bitter passion.
That was how Ebenezer Scrooge was before and on Christmas Eve, when this...