A Christmas Toast

I first posted this on Christmas Eve 2013 because without Charles Dickens and A Christmas Carol, we wouldn’t have the secular version of the holiday we’ve all enjoyed for nearly two centuries. No one would’ve loved a secular Christmas that anyone could celebrate more than the man whose birthday it falls on:

As Christmas Eve gives way to the dark, early hours of Christmas Day, as the clock tolls midnight, raise a glass to the Ghost of Jacob Marley, because money and everything that goes with it is only a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of our business: mankind is our business, the common good is our business.

On the next hour, toast to the Ghost of Christmas Past, but remember it’s only the shadow of things that have been, that they are what they are and nothing more; to the Ghost of Christmas Present, because our offenses carry their own punishment and that it is ourselves, always, who suffer most by our own ill will; and to the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come, because his ominous pointing finger is not so steady and unchangeable as he’d like us to believe.

At the next tolling of the bell, raise an overflowing glass to Ebenezer Scrooge, even though it’s two in the morning, because he more than anyone else knows that it is never too late.

And when the clock rings three, hoist another glass to the man who saved a day of religious observance from its waning popularity and turned it into a celebration of the brotherly business of mankind and a reminder of the debt we all owe our fellow-travelers to the grave, that we can all do each other good even if it never puts a scrap of gold or silver in our pockets. I give you the founder of the feast: Charles Dickens, who knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man ever possessed the knowledge. May that truly be said of us, and all of us. Merry Christmas!