SROOGE’S NEPHEW TELLS US HOW TO KEEP CHRISTMAS . . . 174 years later.

“There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say, “Christmas among the rest.  But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round-apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that-as a good time:  a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time:  the only time I known of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.  And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it HAS done me good, and WILL do me good; and I say, God bless it!”

(Charles Dickens.   Published in 1843.  Copied from the pages of  “THE ANNIVERSARY EDITION OF THE WORKS  OF CHARLES DICKENS  FEBRUARY, 7 1812” .   In the quiet evenings leading to Christmas Day I have been reading from my copy of this book (1911 edition).  More than one hundred years ago other hands turned these pages.  Read “A CHRISTMAS CAROL. IN PROSE.  BEING A GHOST STORY OF CHRISTMAS”.  Other eyes studied intently the illustrations then turned to the next story.  “THE CHIMES.  A GOBLIN STORY OF SOME BELLS THAT RANG AN OLD YEAR OUT AND A NEW YEAR IN”.  This was followed by “THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH.  A FAIRY TALE OF HOME”.    Then “THE BATTLE OF LIFE.  A LOVE STORY”.     Dickens took me to dark places with “THE HAUNTED MAN AND THE GHOST’S BARGAIN”.    A waiting me in the New Year “PICTURES FROM ITALY”.  This classic book, with introductions to each tale, has insightful critical comments, and notes by  critics and writers including Wm. Makepeace Thackery.  Dickens’ peers judging him.  Some not kindly.

I found my faded, red book with sepia illustrations, years ago in a second-hand book store in our tiny village of Ladner.  It was like rediscovering an old friend from the past.    Through the long, bitter cold winter nights of Northern Saskatchewan, we would huddle around the kitchen stove and our Mother would read to us.  A Christmas Carol and The Cricket On The Hearth were our favorites.

. . . . . ” it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge.  May that be truly said of us, and all of us! 

And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God Bless Us, Every One!”

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