Saturday, December 02, 2006

A Christmas Carol and Poverty

I saw a live production of "A Christmas Carol" tonight with some friends. I've got a few thoughts concerning it. I hope you know the story. If not, here's a quick synopsis.

Ebenezer Scrooge is a hard nose, merciless tightwad. He scorns Christmas and all feelings associated. He doesn't quite realize that his lack of compassion and generosity are causing others to suffer and make him appear to be a heartless person. That is, he doesn't realize this until he is visited by three ghosts: The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. They show him scenes from his past life, the current situation, and what will happen if he doesn't change. This new knowledge lead him to become an extravagantly generous person, spreading Christmas cheer all around and being compassionate to other people. At the end, he is practically mad with helping people out and letting go of his shrewdness.

I didn't know until tonight that this play was originally written by Dickens to address social injustice and poverty. I kind of just thought it was a "be a good person" play. One of those that makes you feel good because Christmas is here. I didn't really care much about poverty until the last couple of years, when I was faced with scenes such as these......

This is the side someones house. Looks comfy, huh?

What about this one? You think it keeps the rain out?

Poverty is always going to be around; there are always going to be disparities among people. But why not do a little to help your fellow man out? Got a million bucks to spare? Put that to use. Got a dollar to throw in the red bucket with the bell ringers at the grocery store? Do that. Got a free weekend? Help out at the homeless shelter or visit a lonely elderly person. Though you may not find yourself giddy with compassion afterwards like Ebenezer, I guarantee you'll feel a little better about having made a difference in the world. There's a lot wrong with the world, but that's no reason to sit and do nothing about it. If you've been given much, please handle that responsibility appropriately, even after Christmas is over.