Yesterday we went to Niagara on the Lake for a reading of the tale by some Shaw Festival actors who graciously invited my daughter, who has been very involved for several years in local theatre in the Hamilton-Toronto area, to be one of the narrators.
Listening to this very professional rendition, I was struck by both the simplicity and depth of Dickens' theme, one which our contemporary world seems to go to great pains to encourage us to forget. The promotion of rampant consumerism and the consequent impoverishment of both our environment and our spirit is one that cannot be sustained much longer, yet it seems to be the nature of the corporate agenda which, sadly, so many of us have become infused with, never to look beyond the next quarterly profit statement, no matter what the larger cost may be. At the same time, of course, the gulf between the haves and the have-nots widens, the underlying causes ignored while we apply only band-aid solutions like food banks and shelters, which ultimately only enable the status quo to remain intact.
In A Christmas Carol, Ebeneezer Scrooge learns before it is too late that the things of real value have little to do with things material. Would that we could learn, and take to heart, the same lesson.