One of my favorite holiday stories is Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. This tale has been retold so many times that we forget how truly awesome it is.
I love Ebenezer Scrooge and the spooky Victorian setting. I love the “bah humbugs” and Tiny Tim and Bob Cratchit’s single piece of coal. I love the freaky ghosts and the complete head-trip they pull on Ebenezer to show him the light.
Of course, most of all, I love the dramatic transformation that happens at the end. If someone as big of a jerk as Scrooge could do such a 180, then surely any of us have the potential for change.
But I don’t want to talk about Scrooge today. Every time I read this story, the guy who always sticks with me is Jacob Marley. Marley is Scrooge’s dead partner, the first specter who warns Ebenezer of the three others to come. He is the poster boy for missed opportunity, the guy who came to the end of his life and realized he’d lived it for all the wrong things.