For neophyte Bah Humbuggers out there, “Bah Humbug” is an attitude espoused by Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, a book written by Charles Dickens in the 19th century that is still relevant today. Scrooge is not the nicest character (to begin with) miserly eschewing all things Christmas.
Driving home yesterday evening from Hampton, battling icy sleet & traffic, I wanted to bah humbug the world, throw a warm blanket over my head and call it a night.
Instead, venturing back out into the dark braving pouring sleet mingled with snow, (usually a deterrent for Southerners), I made it to our James City County library to find a full parking lot and “A Dickens Christmas” event in full swing.
Inside the warm library a chamber group played baroque carols while aromas of roasting chestnuts and hot cider wafted by, beckoning attention. Activities loomed around every corner – crafts, puppet shows for kids, Dickensesque lectures in conference rooms, green screen photo ops with costume props, parlour games, storytelling, and harpists strumming sweet holiday melodies.
Meandering to the back atrium of the county library (seemingly bigger & brighter than our downtown Williamsburg location), I caught a chilling ghost story reading. A Christmas Carol is a ghost story, after all: the ghosts of Christmas Past, Future & Present haunt Scrooge into a major bout of soul searching.
Spoiler alert: Scrooge eventually undergoes a change of heart in Dickens’ story.
“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!” (Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol.)
An evening highlight came listening to Jamestown High School’s a cappella group singing traditional Christmas carols intermingled with popular favorites, including a rousing rendition of ‘Sleigh Ride’ that sounded like something from T.V.!
“It is a fair, even-handed, noble adjustment of things, that while there is infection in disease and sorrow, there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humour.” (Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol)
Meanwhile, people continued pouring in (while it was pouring sleet outside!) More music groups played, thespians put on short plays – there was so much going on it was hard to choose what next? A Plum Pudding lecture from Colonial Williamsburg Historic Foodways Journeyman, Kimberly Costa, ensnared my interest. Ms. Costa held our rapt attention to the last word of her enlightening multimedia presentation promising a taste of an authentic 19th century plum pudding. (Did you know original plum pudding had beef suet in it? Thankfully, she made hers vegetarian!)
All this is relevant to Advent, how?
Methinks we’re not meant to Scrooge around Bah Humbugging our way through this season, but open our hearts wide to the transforming power of Love and being the change we want to see in the world.
“For it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself.” (Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol)
grace, peace & (reformed) Bah Humbuggers
Virginia : )