EBENEZER SCROOGE

A BIG CHANGE FOR A STINGY PERSON

2019-01-11

'Dickens had devolved his genius to the description of happiness. In literature, no other writer of his greatness made this subject a fundamental human objective '. So wrote Gilbert Keith Chesterton, a lover of Christmas literature and Dickens.

Dickens was attentive to reality, he had a dramatic childhood, he knew poverty and exploitation of child labor on his skin (his father and his mother had been in jail for debt and at eleven years old he had found himself poor and having to work with other orphans), he made this his attention in his masterpieces. There were many misers in Dickens' time, and yet who has ever described a miser better than him? Ebenezer Scrooge is the archetype of greedy, stingy people that we can meet nowadays, who owns palaces, buildings and yet would not even offer you a coffee.

How is a greedy person? It is not necessarily one that has many goods but let us pause for a moment on the category of stingy Scrooge. They are rich, they literally own buildings or numerous buildings, yet they  look like poor people, with cheap clothes, they struggle to spend money for themselves and for others. They are millionaires but they save every cent. Squeeze their renters to the bone, regardless of economic circumstances, keep their employees' salaries to a minimum, do not invest in risky companies, in start-ups! They invest in real estate because they are safe. Business angels? 'Stupid things!' Would answer, just like Ebenezer Scrooge. They certainly do not care about Christmas or party for any reason, everything is off in their lives, everything is old. Their only concern is not to lose money. Indeed, avarice is idolatry! Money is their god, a god who paradoxically keeps them slaves and poor, poor in dressing, poor in their home, poor especially in love. Ebenezer had no friends, did not care for his only nephew, he spent the minimum even for himself. He was a millionaire and lived like a beggar. This is a stingy person. 

Ebenezer facing a lonely death manages to make a big change to his life. Christmas is that 'magical' moment in which the veil between our world and that Other gets thinner. The generosity of Our Lord who, as a rich man, has stripped himself to be a poor child enriching our poverty, teaches all of us, miserable in his little one, to widen even to open our hearts! Being generous, which does not mean being imprudent and gives joy to himself and to others and enriches life!

Maximiliano Cattaneo

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