To me, the significance of the winter solstice is not that it is the longest night and the shortest day; it is the promise of the sun before the depth of winter. It is the sign that hope and joy overcome dark and cold- be it of the seasons or of our souls. The winter solstice is about renewal, beginnings and the coming warmth of spring. It is a time of celebration; for each day is longer, brighter, stronger. Perhaps that is why the winter solstice tends to bring to mind “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens.
Like many people I enjoy witnessing Scrooge’s transformation from ‘business’ Scrooge to ‘humanitarian’ Scrooge with the aid of the three spirits. At the start of the story, Scrooge, like many of us, is a victim of siloed thinking. This is what I am, and this is what I do. And my worldview and assessment of others is based on the measures I use to quantify and qualify success in the context of my silo.
`But you were always a good man of business, Jacob,’
faltered Scrooge, who now began to apply this to himself.
But it’s Marley’s Ghost who is the hero and guiding light of the story. His words are the ones to which we should pay attention- for he is the bringing the change of consciousness. He may even be the first businessman to promote the Triple Bottom Line, who also understood the hierarchical value of the Planet>People >Profit, and explained the scope and balance of concerns needed to achieve sustainability.
`Business!’ cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. `Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!’ Marley’s ghost
The story of Scrooge shows that we can change our behaviors and our priorities when we have a change of consciousness. He may have needed the assistance and reminders of three consultants (Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Future), but ultimately it is Scrooge who, in heart, mind and body, comprehends the need for change.
Men’s courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead. But if the courses be departed from, the ends will change.
And so it is with Scrooge. He departs from his previous course and thrives by living his altered life.
He did it all, and infinitely more;
And so it is with humanity today. The extreme environmental events we are living with and through; the growing disparity of incomes; the social angst, malaise, anger, hunger, and frustration are the foreshadowing of the growing grimness of our coming future if we stay our current course.
Will we embrace the words of Marley as Scrooge did, and change? Or will we stay in our silos and pretend that our trade is more important than everything else now and forever?
It is are not only for what we do that we are held responsible, but also for what we do not do. Moliere
except for Moliere,
all quotes are from “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens