Super Mo, our Needle and Thread: Stitching for Literacy 2011 Bookmark Challenge Super Model dons a pair of moon bookmark earrings. Love that look!
Last week, I shared Mike’s favorite novel opening from a Charles Dickens Christmas story. This week, I’m going to share three passages from A Christmas Carol which I have long loved.
The first comes very early in the book and describes Scrooge’s home.
He lived in chambers which had once belonged to his deceased partner. They were a gloomy suite of rooms, in a lowering pile of building up a yard, where it had so little business to be, that one could scarcely help fancying it must have run there when it was a young house, playing at hide-and-seek with other houses, and forgotten the way out again.
Poor house! Such a sad tale, but kind of funny, too.
The next perfectly describes my own feelings about the Christmas holidays.
“…a few of us are endeavouring to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink, and means of warmth. We choose this time because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices.”
It is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices. It really is.
I always thought Dickens’s Christmas stories odd because they all have a bittersweet edge to them. I always thought the bitter parts were out of place and unjustified. Christmas is supposed to be a happy time, right?
I’ve changed my mind. I find the holiday more pleasing when we address both the joy and the sorrow. While we rejoice in our Abundance, let us reach out to those who Want.
When my sister and I were in high school, our parents took us to a nearby VA hospital to hand out institutionalized gifts–socks are the only item I recall–to the patients and then play holiday tunes in the day room on our trumpet, clarinet, and saxophone. I spent the first year crying in the nurse’s station, sad for the patients and ashamed I couldn’t participate, couldn’t offer two minutes of cheer to anyone.
I learned, though, and after that first year, it made me happy to spend Christmas morning at the VA hospital before enjoying the rest of the day with family and friends. For the rest of my life, I hope I can find some way to embrace both the Want and the Abundance felt during the holidays.
This is the final passage I wish to share.
They were a boy and girl. yellow, meagre, ragged, scowling, wolfish; but prostrate, too, in their humility. Where graceful yough should have filled their features out, and touched them with its freshest tints, a stale and shrivelled hand, like that of age, had pinched, and twisted them, and pulled them into shreds. Where angels might have sat enthroned, devils lurked, and glared out menacing. No change, no degradation, no perversion of humanity, in any grade, through all the mysteries of wonderful creation, has monsters half so horrible and dread…
“…This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, an 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.”
I think Dickens nailed it. I think Ignorance and Want just might be the root of all evil. I want to do what I can to erase both, not just during the holidays, but all year long. This is why I’m Stitching for Literacy.
Got a line or passage from a book that you love? Share it with us. Send it to me at mail AT funkandweber DOT com.
It’s either that or you get another one of my favorites next week!