Sunday Snippet: Charles Dickens

“I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.”

There’s just something about this time of year. It may have started out as a religious holiday and it still has that kind of significance for many people around the world, but it seems that the spirit of Christmas has transcended them. Everyone just seems happier and friendlier around this time of year, regardless of denomination and faith.

Granted, today’s world is vastly different from the world of Charles Dickens (who provides the quote above), but the sentiment still holds true. We are reminded of why and how we can care for our fellow man, whether it be through charity or through simple kindness and courtesy. The cynic in me is quick to point out the not-so-nice people in today’s society, but I think there is an inherent goodness is most people.

It is interesting for Dickens to take such an optimistic perspective, given the nature and atmosphere of much of his work. We’re oftentimes shown the lives of the less fortunate in urban London, for example, and it is a life of hardship and deceit. Maybe Charles just experienced a rush of the Christmas spirit when he provided that line.

Yes, it’s easy to shut yourself out from the world. It’s also easy to get caught up in the rampant commercialism of the season, but at the end of the day, we need to recognize that true value is experienced through human relationships. We’re all in this together.

With that, I’d like to offer all the Beyond the Rhetoric readers a merry Christmas, happy holidays, and some spirited seasons greetings.