Friday, December 2, 2016

A Christmas Carol Chapter 1 - Marley's Ghost

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I am excited to begin thinking through A Christmas Carol with you.  Welcome!  Before we dive into the chapter, I wanted to share a couple of things with you.

If you don't have the book yet, you can get it for free on Kindle, or even download the text of it on Project Gutenberg!  I've been known to print out way too many pages from Project Gutenberg before =)

Just so you know, I am not planning on outlining the plot of each chapter, or going through the book page by page in these posts.  I am going to pull out interesting quotes and ideas that I want to work through, and discuss them with you!  Please feel free to add to the discussion by leaving comments below or linking up a post that you have written about the book.

You can also join our live discussion on facebook!  We will be discussing live at 1pm EST for the next few Fridays, or you can always still go back and add your thoughts to the discussion afterwards.  I will be popping in throughout the week to keep the conversation going.  (Here is the schedule for the life chats on the rest of the book.)  Psst.  I've got some bonus goodies for those who join in on facebook!

The Faith of Charles Dickens

The content of this chapter made me wonder about Charles Dickens' religious beliefs.  I found this article on Christianity Today on Dickens' faith.  It talks about how he disliked aristocracy and formality, and was a champion for the poor and needy.  He didn't think that the church did enough social action for those in need.  His writings, including A Christmas Carol, reflect his views on this.

Here is a quote from the article that will be good to keep in the back of our minds as we think about this book:

The “salvation” of Scrooge comes not from an encounter with Christ, but an encounter with self. He displays the Dickensian view that salvation is achieved by loving your neighbor, giving a cup of water to those in need. The New Testament teaches that such acts are the result of spiritual conversion; for Dickens, they were the means.

Chapter 1 - Marley's Ghost

Ok, on to the book!  My first though (having never read this book before) is that I am impressed at how faithful the movies/plays have been to the text of the book, even down to the "Bah Humbug!"

Movies are great for creating a visual experience, but I already feel like I have a more clear understanding of the message of the story from reading just the first few pages.

This is the quote that stuck out to me the most from the first chapter.  I'm going to keep my eye out the rest of the book, because I have a feeling that this might even be a thesis type statement for the book.

"The misery with them all was, clearly, that they sought to interfere, for good, in human matters, and had lost the power forever."  A Christmas Carol pg 34

Marley's Ghost has come back to visit Scrooge to try to keep him from this fate.  The picture of Marley seeing a young mother and baby, but being unable to help them, was very powerful to me.

How many times do you see someone that you want to help, but  don't?  I frequently have the desire to help someone, but psych myself out by thinking "Maybe they don't actually need help," or "I probably wouldn't do it right," or "Someone else closer to them is probably already helping them."  Then I end up just doing nothing.  Shame on me!  While I don't agree with Dickens' social gospel belief, this message is still very convicting for me!

Can I take a minute to encourage you to have a notebook out while you are reading?  Just jot ideas down as they come to you.  Ask questions.  Copy quotes.

I actually took lots of notes because I knew that I wanted to blog about it, but afterward I took the few quotes that I had written down and copied them into a notebook.

If you are not familiar with this already, it is sometimes referred to as keeping a Commonplace Book.  Let's talk about that more in another post and get back on track here =)

Here is another quote that I wrote down.  This one is from page 31 in my book and is Marley speaking:

Business!...Mankind was my business.  The common welfare was my business: charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence were all my business.  The dealings of trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!"

This paints a great picture and is a wonderful perspective!  Our 9-5 job, or the job we might get paid for, is not where we derive our worth or serve our greatest purpose.  In the grand scheme of things, how we treat other people is so much more important than our job title or how much money we make.

I know that I get caught up in the minute by minute duties of the day, and often forget that my real purpose on this earth is to show Christ to others.  Am I being kind to my child?  Am I showing mercy to my husband?  Am I giving charity to that person in the parking lot?  Ooo!  This is convicting me as I write!  Now only if I can remember this the next time I am feeling overwhelmed.

I think this is a good note to leave on today.  Can I encourage you to try to keep these lessons from Dickens in your mind and heart this week?  Keep pondering this chapter and meet me back here next week!

If you need to pick up a copy of the book, head over to amazon (the kindle version is free!) or since it is a public domain title, you can also get it for free on Project Gutenberg.

Classical Mamas Read Link-Up

Did you write about A Christmas Carol on your blog?  Have you been reading and blogging about another book (for you, not a children's book)?  Do you have a book club going on at your blog (once again, not for a children's book)?  I'd love for you link up here so we can all be encouraged by each other and maybe find another great book to read!

I'm going to keep this link-up ongoing since there aren't going to be a huge number of posts and then anyone new will be able to be encouraged by the other book reading ideas and discussions.  If the number of posts gets too large, I will fix it.

Please note, all posts must be on topic (about a book you are reading) and appropriate (think family friendly).

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  1. Hi Amy, I read A Christmas Carol aloud for Christmas 2014. This year I'm reading The Other Wise Man by Henry Van Dyck. Enjoy your reading. Dickens is one of my longtime favourite authors.

  2. Hi Amy, I read A Christmas Carol in 2014 during December & really enjoyed it. This year I'm reading The Other Wise Man by Henry Van Dyck and so far it'S been great. Enjoy your reading.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Carol! I love that it is such a quick book to read (I'm making it take a long time, but really it could be read in a few sittings). I have not heard of The Other Wise Man, but I am glad that you are enjoying it. Thanks for the recommendation!


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