Dickens on Helping Others

I’ve recently been reading a seasonal classic, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I haven’t read it since high school. I’m thoroughly enjoying it! I keep coming across passages that make me stop, back up, and read them again.

For instance, there’s a part where Scrooge, having just received a visit from the spirit of his old business partner, Marley, is standing at the window looking outside. He sees hundreds of spirits circling in the air, dragging their chains, and recognizes many of them.

He had been quite familiar with one old ghost, in a white waistcoat, with a monstrous iron safe attached to its ankle, who cried piteously at being unable to assist a wretched woman with an infant, whom it saw below, upon a door-step. The misery with them all was, clearly, that they sought to interfere, for good, in human matters, and had lost the power forever.

When I read that, I thought, “Oh, what a lesson to take to heart!” Having recently spent a month babysitting my infant grandson, I know a little of what it’s like to hear a hungry baby’s cry. Once we were in the car and he woke up from a nap hungry. His cries were truly piteous, and hearing them hurt my heart even though I knew he only had to wait five minutes before his next meal. As I drove along, I realized there are mothers all over the world who have to listen to their babies’ hungry cries, and they have nothing to give them. What a heartbreaking misery.

Lord, don’t let me be like Scrooge, unaware of the hurting people around me. Open my eyes to see them, and show me what I can do to help.