Friday, December 16, 2016

A Christmas Carol Chapter 3 - The Ghost of Christmas Present

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Welcome back to our discussion of A Christmas Carol!

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.

Waiting for the Third Spirit

I still don't understand the time frame of all of this!  I know it's fiction, and it's probably just all a dream, but I like to understand things =)  There is no daytime between the spirit visits, but the spirits are supposed to come for three consecutive nights, right?  But it all starts on Christmas Eve and he eventually emerges again on Christmas morning.  Someone please explain this to me, or else remind me that this is just a story and I need to stop trying to figure it out!

I thought it was interesting that this time he is expecting the spirit to come, and even tries to look for it.  He was almost disappointed when the clock struck 1 and he didn't see anyone!

"Being prepared for almost anything, he was not by any means prepared for nothing."  (pg. 62)

He finally sees a light coming from the other room and finds the 2nd ghost there.  The room has been changed and is described in great detail.  In fact, most of the settings in this chapter are described in great detail.  It is interesting because the locations really aren't that important, but so much time is taken describing them.  Does anyone know why this might be? The best I can think is that it is showing an appreciation for all of the goodness around him, to contrast with the way Scrooge lives, dark and cold, appreciating nothing.

Ready to Learn a Lesson

Once he meets the Ghost of Christmas Present, he is ready to be on his way!  I am impressed that the lessons of the previous ghost were taken to heart and that he is willing to learn more.

"I went forth last night on compulsion, and I learned a lesson which is working now.  To-night, if you have ought to teach me, let me profit by it." (pg. 65)

If the first ghost represented Scrooge's memory, I think this ghost was his conscience.  In this chapter, Scrooge is taken to different scenes, and is shown what life is actually like for others. He sees that people who do not have extra money can actually enjoy one another and be thankful for what they have.  There is no remembering this time around, only an opportunity for his heart to be stirred.

The ghost even turns some of Scrooge's previous words back on him.  When Scrooge asks him if Tiny Tim will live (because he clearly cares for him as a person now), the ghost replies "What then? If he be like to die, he had better do it, and decrease the population." (pg.78)  And Scrooge "hung his head to hear his own words quoted by the Spirit, and was overcome with penitence and grief."

Then again at the end with the very strange vision of the two children, Ignorance and Want. Scrooge is disturbed by them, but also shows compassion.  He asks if there is no refuge for them and  the Spirit turned Scrooge's word on him again saying, "Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?"

A Visit to his Nephew

At one point he visits the Christmas party where his nephew is celebrating.  I love that Scrooge seems to be thoroughly enjoying himself, partaking in the games and merriment, even though they cannot see or hear him.  Here is a quote that I thought was really telling:

"When this strain of music sounded, all the things that Ghost had shown him came upon his mind; he softened more and more and thought that if he could have listened to it often, years ago, he might have cultivated the kindness of life for his own happiness with his own hands, without resorting to the sexton's spade that buried Jacob Marley."  (pg. 88-89)

Scrooge was all "head" and no "heart."  I am like that naturally, but have been working hard these past few years to appreciate beauty.  It is important to remember that we are not only thinking beings, but also possessors of hearts and souls that need cultivating as well.  It is easy to sway too much to one side or the other due to our natural tendencies, but this story cautions us again that.

Scrooge had never (or maybe rarely) been shown what happiness was like, so he didn't really know what he was missing.  He calloused his heart completely, and didn't want to chance joining in because he didn't want to be hurt ever again.

There is so much more that we could dive into, but as we finish up today, can I encourage you to notice the beauty around you?  Notice the people around you. Show compassion.  Not as a means of salvation, but as an outworking of the Holy Spirit's work in your heart.  

Walk worthy of your calling this week, and join me back here next week as we finish the book, discussing chapters 4-5.

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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