A Christmas Carol: Lessons in Generosity and Compassion Here on the Suncoast
“A Christmas Carol” is a novella written by Charles Dickens and first published in 1843. The story follows the transformative journey of Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly and cold-hearted old man, on the night of Christmas Eve. Scrooge is known for his disdain for Christmas, charity, and all things joyful. His business partner, Jacob Marley, who had died seven years prior, visits him as a ghost, burdened with heavy chains forged by his greed and selfishness. Marley warns Scrooge that he faces a similar fate unless he changes his ways.
I love watching this movie, but as I’ve gotten older, this movie plays in my head during this season. I think about the choices I might have made in this last year that I would change. When was I not charitable, maybe got too pushy with someone at the store, lost my temper with a delivery driver, or cussed out the car next to me for cutting me off in traffic? Those reflections, married with a need to be better for the coming year, start around this time of giving for me. Whether taking up an angel tree recipient, working with youth to deliver presents to shut-ins, or just working at the food bank, many give back in tangible ways this time of year that have nothing to do with gifts, trees, or the bustle of the seasons. Reflection is our greatest gift and hopefully spurs us into action.
Here on the Suncoast, we have so many amazing charities that year-round focus on those most in need rather than internal to the individuals helping facilitate good deeds. Selfless acts abound in large and small ways, but during this most trying season for many, hopefully, we all take a moment to reflect on what we might change to not be the Scrooge this Christmas. Don’t holler at those in line ahead of you at the stores, give a smile to someone passing you today, or stop and have a conversation with someone walking alone. Maybe it is bigger changes you are reflecting on, such as a change to something you are passionate about, a nonprofit you have dreamed of starting for years, or a moment of forgiveness to a family member or friend who wronged you.
This time of year, may we all take lessons from A Christmas Carol and make true changes in our own lives. In this season of giving, may grace be a gift you provide yourself and try new things that can make us all better people in a society in crisis right now. True change starts with little steps, and we don’t have to undertake scrooge-level life overhauls, but just keeping the lessons of the movie in our minds can stop us from missteps on a daily basis. Today, more than all days of the year, may we exercise charity, generosity, and compassion like never before.
Feature Photo Courtesy of Deposit Photos