“ … It was always said of him that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge.”
Christmas would also be a serious time, for Scrooge. He would remember that night of his sudden change of heart. By his nature, he had never been forgetful – always remembering every debt, and slight, and perceived stupidity in others. And what is deepest in him, the tenacity that defines him, remains unchanged. Only now he holds on to only what is important for the spirit, and lets the rest go. The lessons he learned on that long night: those he must keep. His own debts and faults: he must remember those, and learn from them. And, most of all, he remembers to laugh at his old self, in his newfound lightness of spirit.
Almost imperceptibly – you’ll see it in his twinkling eyes if you look closely – he becomes sober and thoughtful as advent approaches. He is thinking about past Christmases. He is thinking about what might have been. He has seen the horror of an alternate future narrowly averted.
He’s back on form by the 1st of December, if he could ever have been said to have been off it. This is his time to shine, after all. He does what is expected of him and keeps Christmas in grand style. Not because it is expected of him. No, he has a natural inclination to smile and sing at Christmas because Christmas brings him joy.
And he’s a jolly person all year round now. Even in a thoughtful mood, he’s a hair’s breadth from breaking into laughter, and he’s always ready with a smile if anyone should interrupt his meditation. Christmas brings about no change in Scrooge, in respect of his jollity. The change is one of perspective: Christmas, with all its traditions and associations, is an illuminating force, a shining backdrop, which shows up Scrooge plainly now for what he truly is and has been all year. The greens, reds, whites of Christmas – trees, gifts, candles – all set him off and show him up, a shining example of humanity and joviality.
And that’s all the big change in him ever was: a change of perspective. Everything you see is a projection of what you are. It took a change of heart, a lighting up and brightening of the spirit, to create a world that Scrooge could find joy in.
(I’ve been reading A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.)