Dear brethren and companions,
Christmas is near, a time of traditions, storytelling, and reflection. All three are bound up in Charles Dickens’ wonderful story A Christmas Carol.
The miser Scrooge is miserable and alone at Christmas, locked in his own self-imposed isolation, walled in with his money which brings him little comfort.
The Ghost of Christmas Present appears to Scrooge wearing a green robe, bedecked with holly, wearing a rusty scabbard without a sword, which is the symbol of peace. He bears a torch, used to spread good will. These are all symbols of the transforming power of Christmas. A light in the darkness of the longest night, and a promise of brighter times to come. For many of us these last 18 months have been very dark indeed.
The Ghost sits upon a pile of festive food, but under his robe kneel the two gaunt children, named Want and Ignorance. Even in the midst of our festivities, Want and Ignorance lurk in the darkness.
Surely this is our work, to cure these children?
When Scrooge speaks about business, the Ghost of Jacob Marley says -
‘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!’
Surely this is our business?
But we have been at our business - supporting many Essex charities; the young, the disabled, the depressed and the poor. As Freemasons, we are learning in life that which Jacob Marley only learned in death.
By the end of the tale, Scrooge is a changed man. We are changed men, taught by our masonic ideals. We should emulate Scrooge as he says –
‘I 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.’
Finally, as we are so aware of spreading infection as we visit our friends and family, please stay safe and well, however, remember that -
There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good-humour.
I look forward to seeing you all again soon when we have more work to do.
Have a very Merry Christmas.
God bless us, everyone!
Paul Tarrant, the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent