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Chapter 12 of InCite, by Scott Ski
Better Than His Word
It is probably the second most well known holiday story ever written. The tale emerged an instant and immense, popular phenomenon from the day it was first published on December 19, 1843. With no publicity, the initial six thousand copies sold out in five days. From then until now it has never been out of print. Penned by a debt-strapped British author, the narrative vividly recalled many English customs that had faded into disuse and abandonment, resulting in a resurgence that holds them dear even to the present. In over 160 years of retelling, the tale moved beyond popular, entering into beloved tradition.
In all probability, the reader of this piece may have never actually read this renowned book, yet you know it by heart. How could one sum up something so thoroughly, that they may have never read? The answer is that we are steeped in its traditions; enchanted by its hauntings. Chances are good that if only one key word of the book�s text were printed here, the reader would be able to name at least five major characters and tell the entire story, scene by scene. One could easily give details about the various interactions, character costumes and locations, and even quote some of the dialogue. It is THAT well known.
The strange issue though, arises from the fact that, although we collectively know this tome by heart, very few know the moral of the tale. It has been lost in our love of �well, badness. In all seriousness, our society has developed a deep interest in villains. We revel in the revile. In the case of this story, we love to hate the bad guy so much that his despicable character has grown to become a hallmark we enjoy, anticipate and even relish with each telling of the piece.
And that is why the true meaning of the tale has been largely lost. While this missing moral comes routinely recited with each retelling, it appears as a side bar to the primary richness of the prime character�s vile nature, a cantankerous demeanor that seems to offer so much odd pleasure to us.
Is anyone still uncertain of the story? With one word, the entire tale will leap into the collective consciousness, providing all the details previously mentioned that the reader would recall. Ready? Here we go�
So, all those light bulbs switched on quickly, didn�t they? Suddenly, Charles Dickens� A Christmas Carol leaps to full life in your mind. From Ebenezer Scrooge�s initial �Bah! Humbug!� to Tiny Tim�s positive disposition. Jacob Marley�s Ghost came forth with his unforgettable baggage of cashboxes, books and ledgers chained to him; returning as a faithful friend to offer Scrooge the chance for hope and redemption. The Spirit of Christmas� Past, Present and Yet-To-Come sail through memory. A host of memorable characters from Bob Crachit to Mr. Fezziwig march and dance through your thoughts. Scrooge�s counting house, Ebenezer�s bed chamber, Bob�s house, the cemetery and much more drift and shift as the scenes retell the narrative. This story wove the cloth for many of our Christmas customs and ingrained within collective memory the entire concept of a Victorian themed Christmas.
What follows is a condensation of the final paragraph of the book. As one continues to read, it will reveal itself very plainly that the way we continue to perceive this timeless tale subtly subjugates the real moral to the story. Indeed, we have overlooked the very best and richest lesson.
"Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world�
�and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us!"
Instead of an angry, dour old miser, there should be a recollection of a person who gained hope; a changed man who celebrates the season, the year and days in his life so joyously that he himself became a joyous celebration to all he came in contact.
"I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year."
That was Scrooge�s promise. That IS what the book says, indeed, the moral of the tale�a person that, in the end, strove to be better than his word, as good a friend as can be found; a man to emulate.
Being just like Ebenezer Scrooge�
......May that be truly said of us, and all of us!
� Scott Ski
All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.
What is InCite?
Throughout generations of humanity, whether sitting around early primitive campfires, a medieval stone hearth or the traditional kitchen table, the recounting of the past provided instruction and guidelines; building insight, inspiration and direction. Recently, our increasing technology has usurped this ancient tradition, replacing it with hours before the television, instant messaging and emails. Mouse clicks to text message even immediate family members replaces personal, interactive time together. This book, InCite, be it read alone or shared aloud with others, rekindles that earlier, time-honored tradition of instilling guidance via lessons from the past.
People and relationships, the subjects in these true accounts, are like us today. Many have long been knit deeply into the fabric of life and generations past. Find here insights from their stories. Ranging across the spectrum, recent news to earliest lore, time swirls with the decisions made by others; events that can enlighten our choices. Daily, our actions are woven into the lives of others, and into history itself. The significance of our words and works may not be immediately revealed, but they endure. Their results, both negative and positive, will influence� even beyond our lifetime. Intuition gleaned from chronicles of the former eras offers clarity, a greater array of options along with facilitating better choices.
There is wisdom in recounting the narratives of those who came before us. They can instill the ability to discern, to choose accordingly, and to act. This small book provides resonant insights into those stories, reflections to arouse InCite.
To move to action; to stir up; to rouse; to spur or urge on