On a foggy Christmas Eve in Victorian London, the old miser sits at his desk.
Bitter and disillusioned with the world, Ebenezer Scrooge has only one interest: his bottom line. He declines his nephew’s invitation to Christmas dinner, refuses to support the poor and deprived, and reluctantly grants his underpaid clerk, Bob Cratchit, time off for Christmas Day.
After he arrives home, strange things begin to happen. Jacob Marley, his deceased business partner, appears as a ghost tethered to a chain, telling Scrooge to change his self-centered ways, lest he meet the same fate.
That is the premise of A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens’ classic tale of a man’s transformation from hardened recluse to generous humanitarian. To me, it offers valuable lessons for all, regardless of belief or time of year.
In one of my favourite passages, a spirit magically transports Scrooge to the Cratchit household. There, he sees his clerk from a new vantage point, observing a humble but heartfelt holiday gathering. Scrooge then understands that gifts like friendship, family and gratitude can’t be recorded into any ledger. By the end of the story, Scrooge has learned the most important lesson of all: that as long as we are still alive, it’s not too late to devote ourselves to serving humankind.
The year-end holidays are upon us. It is a time of giving and sharing, but it is not limited to our loved ones. It is also for the people we have never met and will never see, for those who are not so fortunate as we and could use a helping hand. The miracle of giving that Scrooge discovered on Christmas Eve is exactly what The Rotary Foundation does 365 days a year.
Our Foundation serves simultaneously as charity and performer in the field; Rotarians are on the ground, volunteering their skills and business expertise in support of grants that are funded by you. In this way, we carry out some of Rotary’s most important work, such as protecting mothers and their babies and helping communities recover from the shocks of Covid-19.
Please remember The Rotary Foundation during this season of generosity. Remember that your gifts to the Foundation amplify our work in all areas of focus. They are perpetuated, not just today but long after we are gone. And the Foundation will continue to work its miracles in service to others tomorrow as long as we keep supporting it today. On behalf of TRF Trustees, I thank you for sending your generous contribution before December 31.
K R Ravindran
Foundation Trustee Chair