Sunday, 9:00 AM. 32 degrees F, wind W, calm to light. The sky is completely gray overcast, the sun nowhere to be seen. A major snow storm has been predicted, which was supposed to have started yesterday evening, but it has not arrived as yet. It feels like snow, and all things seem conducive to it.
It seems almost impossible, but the yuletide season is rapidly approaching. Our little Bayfield church, Christ Episcopal, no longer has enough parishioners to hold regular services in the winter, but we have been celebrating Advent by getting together Sunday afternoons to read and discuss Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” and its historic context and effect on the season and on society. We all know the story of old Scrooge and the three Christmas ghosts, but it is good to read it again, with all its Victorian London imagery. The book had a profound effect on our perception of Christmas and what it means to be a Christian.
An American contemporary of Dickens, Washington Irving, also wrote about Christmas, but with a more humorous approach. I suggest his “Old Christmas” be read during the season, as well, and I am going to do so today.
Although I am far from being any kind of authority on the subject, It has always seemed to me there were two rather distinct periods of real flowering of the English language; the Elizabethan period (Shakespeare and the King James version of the Bible), and the Victorian (Dickens, Irving and others). Dickens, certainly, transports even the modern reader convincingly back to another time, place and social context.