"If quite convenient, Sir."
"It's not convenient," said Scrooge, "and it's not fair. If I was to stop half-a-crown for it, you'd think yourself ill-used, I'll be bound?"
The clerk smiled faintly.
"And yet," said Scrooge, "you don't think think me ill-used, when I pay a day's wages for no work."
The clerk observed that it was only once a year.
"A poor excuse for picking a man's pocket every twenty-fifth of December!" said Scrooge, buttoning his great-coat to the chin. "But, I suppose you must have the whole day. Be here all the earlier next morning!"
This passage is one of the most famous in A Christmas Carol. It encapsulates Scrooge's incredible ego and greed. Scrooge literally takes Christmas as a personal affront to himself and his bank account. If you really want to boil Scrooge's issues down to their core, they all hinge on the fact that he is an incredibly self-centered man. Christmas takes away money from Scrooge. Therefore, Christmas is some kind of left-wing conspiracy to bleed him dry.
As a worship leader at church and as a college professor, I deal with a lot of people like Scrooge. People who seem to think their problems and their lives are of utmost importance to everyone. They carry the world on their shoulders. Over the last day or so, I've been navigating a Scrooge situation. Like Bob Cratchit, I have learned to keep my mouth shut and let the Scrooge in my life vent his particular brand of venom. It's easier that way. I have learned that you can't win an argument with a Scrooge. Scrooges know best. Always.
That doesn't mean that I agree with my Scrooge. That means that I'm not going to battle my Scrooge. I will do things the way I think they should done, no matter what. I just choose to ignore my Scrooge's rant, the way Bob does in the above passage. Bob gets to take Christmas day off, and Scrooge gets to browbeat his clerk. Everybody's happy.
Don't get me wrong. I can be a Scrooge, wrapping myself up in my own little counting house. Most human beings have their Scrooge moments. It's what you do after the Scrooge moment that counts. I choose to look beyond the narrow limits of my money-changing hole. I choose to walk along the crowded paths of life, embracing all human sympathy.
Be kind to the Scrooge in your life. Listen to him. Let him crab. Let him bitch. Let him browbeat you a little. Be Bob Cratchit. Show your Scrooge kindness and understanding. In the end, you may end up with a free goose dinner.
That's what Saint Marty's hoping for.