Happy Birthday, Charles Dickens
Published: Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Charles John Huffam Dickens was born on February 7, 1812, in Portsmouth, England. The last time I was in the United Kingdom I had the privilege of visiting both his birthplace and his burial place (Poets' Corner, Westminster Abbey). He is considered by many to be the greatest novelist of the Victorian Era.
He wrote, "It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child himself." His A Christmas Carol, while not having an overt Christian message, puts forth a few scriptural themes: repentance, helping others, compassion, and generosity. Clearly, Charles Dickens was concerned about the poor during the Industrial Revolution and he felt that people should treat others with respect.
He wrote for his children The Life of Our Lord, a book that he read to his children every Christmas. He wrote, "My dear children, I am very anxious that you should know something about the history of Jesus Christ. For everybody ought to know about Him. No one ever lived who was so good, so kind, so gentle, and so sorry for people who did wrong, or were in any way ill or miserable...."
In this book Dickens concentrated on the miracles of Jesus and on biblical lessons about love, forgiveness, and compassion.
We are marking the 200th anniversary of Dickens's birth with deep appreciation for his excellent writings, including A Tale of Two Cities, Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, and The Pickwick Papers.
He wrote, "No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of it for anyone else." Through his writings and his philanthropy Charles Dickens has lightened the burdens of others in many ways.
Therefore, I conclude this little honor to him by quoting one of his characters, Tiny Tim Cratchit, who said, "God bless us, everyone."