This week’s series of pictures have been those that remind me of some favourite quotes – .. and we’ll end the week with one about today – Christmas.
“Mankind was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The deals of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!” That’s a line spoken by the ghost of Jacob Marley, in Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”.
That novel is short (in fact, it’s really only a novella) – but it’s been crediting with ‘inventing’ Christmas – at least in the way that we celebrate it today.
Christmas celebrations, of course, have been around since around 350AD – although not in the modern sense.
Most of the popular traditions of Christmas actually come from earlier celebrations – Saturnalia, the winter solstice, the Yule of pagans – and the folding in of those traditions continued until the middle ages, when we started too have significant feasts for Christmas.
But there was also some ‘blowback’ – Puritans in England and the new American colonies banned Christmas, for example, in the 17th century.
That was because Christmas celebrations in the ‘lower orders’ had, by then, degenerated into (or returned to) bacchanalia – drinking, and carousing, and sexual licentiousness (somewhat like an out-of-control office party!)
But when Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol, he painted a picture of what Christmas COULD be – a time of goodwill to all men, and of family, and of philanthropy.
Hence his character, Marley’s ghost, lamenting that he had spent too much time on Business, and not enough on charity, mercy, and benevolence.
Of course, in the nearly 175 years since A Christmas Carol was published, Christmas has morphed again .. now, it’s about Santa, and about consumerism.
But at its heart, it still remains about giving, and sharing – especially with family and loved ones.
Whether it’s in the snows of Northern Europe, or the dry outback of Australia, or the tropical paradise in Hawaii – the season is about joy.
And, as the red-suited dude would say, in Honolulu where this #Travelpic was taken .. Mele Kalikimaka.
Or Joyeux Noël, Zalig Kerstmis, Selamat Natal, Buon Natale, Blithe Yule, Feliz Navidad, or even toDwI’ma’ qoS yItIvqu’ in Klingon …
However you say it, I wish you all the joy that the season can bring you.