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More Perspectives on Joy

by David Jordan

He had known poverty, so understood the degrading, hopeless conditions so many in Victorian England endured.  He set about to do something, to make a difference, to draw attention to the deplorable conditions of the working poor.

In 1843, Charles Dickens considered writing a tract, a pamphlet that would educate the public and, he hoped, draw sympathy to their plight.  But he increasingly became convinced that a fictional novella could be more powerful and reach more people than the non-fiction of a pamphlet.  For six weeks in the fall of 1843, Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol.  Some say his words in that work did more to change the hearts and minds of nineteenth century England than any other influence.  Further, his vivid description of Christmas feasts, gift giving and generosity unintentionally united with Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s revival of English Christmas traditions.  Decorations and feasting had been long scorned by the Puritanical religious authorities prior to Dickens and the Queen and Prince.  Suddenly, almost overnight, the warmth, color and joy of Christmas festivities returned enthusiastically.  But there was more. What Dickens discovered, and what he related so persuasively through the story of Ebenezer Scrooge gives us another valuable perspective on this vital Advent trait of Joy. We will discuss that tomorrow. In the meantime …

May the God of hope fill you with all joy (Romans 15:13).

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