Daily Archives: December 18, 2014

Reflection on Stave One of A Christmas Carol

By Christopher Hall

scrooge_by_ravenscar45-d5lzal5Christmas celebrates a birth, the most amazing birth. So it would be odd to begin a meditation about the true meaning of Christmas by reflecting upon death. And yet that is precisely how Dickens begins A Christmas Carol. He even calls attention to the fact that this is how he is going to begin: “Marley was dead: to begin with.” Of course, this is mostly to underscore the strangeness, the creepiness, the unnaturalness of Marley’s ghostly return—as the narrator himself notes: “There is no doubt that Marley was dead. This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate.” It also underscores Scrooge’s own spiritual state illustrated by his insensate lack of reaction to difference in heat or cold, or the inclemency of the weather, by his lack of feeling for his fellow man and their purposeful avoidance of him. Scrooge is, as St. Paul would put it, dead in his sin. And only an encounter with the dead, with spirits, and with the possibilities of his own terrible fate can awaken him. Continue reading Reflection on Stave One of A Christmas Carol