By C.O.H. Gifford, Jr.
There is a certain term, used especially during this Holiday Season:
“He’s such a Scrooge!” or, “Don’t be a Scrooge!” It indicates someone who is stingy, miserly, and mean, eponymous of Ebenezer Scrooge, the main character of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost Story of Christmas. Here we get a look of Ebenezer at the start of the story:
“…a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster… He carried his own low temperature always about with him…”
But, my friends, that was just the start. Ebenezer, through the auspices of the ghost of his late partner, is headed for a series of ‘Come to Jesus’ moments. He goes on a tour of his own past and present, ultimately realizing that the choices he has made are leading him to a ‘Yet To Come’ that is bleak and dark and ultimately, senseless.
“Still the Ghost pointed downward to the grave by which it stood. ‘Men’s courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead,’ said Scrooge. ‘But if the courses be departed from, the ends will change. Say it is thus with what you show me!’”
Scrooge was one sort of person for a very long time. Something very like an intensive self-examination ensued, and, when he ‘awoke,’ he had come to understand that:
“Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”
And now, here we are. The Shopping Frenzy is upon us! Programmed carols fill the air! The lights blink & shine! Meanwhile, out of sight…
“‘This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased. Deny it!’ cried the Spirit, stretching out its hand towards the city. ‘Slander those who tell it ye! Admit it for your factious purposes, and make it worse. And bide the end!’”
We must become more Scroogle-like. We urgently need to make Mankind our business, much more than it currently is. There are any number of organizations dedicated to easing some of the horrific burdens of a society that is incredibly unbalanced. While financial donations are welcome, often it is simply our time that is even more valuable. Volunteering in literacy programs, or Big Brother/Big Sister, for example, will help eradicate Ignorance, one person at a time. Want is a direct result of Ignorance, and there are many food banks and shelters that would welcome a helping hand: offers a lot of ideas for participation.
“He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew…His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him.…and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us!”

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