The fireplace was an old one, built by some Dutch merchant long ago, and paved all round with quaint Dutch tiles, designed to illustrate the Scriptures. There were Cains and Abels, Pharaoh’s daughters, Queens of Sheba, Angelic messengers descending through the air on clouds like feather-beds, Abrahams, Belshazzars, Apostles putting off to sea in butter-boats, hundreds of figures to attract his thoughts; and yet that face of Marley, seven years dead, came like the ancient Prophet’s rod, and swallowed up the whole. If each smooth tile had been a blank at first, with power to shape some picture on its surface from the disjointed fragments of his thoughts, there would have been a copy of old Marley’s head on every one.
From A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens, Chapter 1
I just saw this fantastic 1984 version of Dickens’ Christmas Carol.
This story breaks me in pieces every time I see it or hear it.
I find myself holding back tears within the first fifteen minutes.
It’s everything at once: Gothic Horror, Faith vs Materialist Atheism, the Gospel,
Social Justice, Near Death Experience, Regret and Rebirth…
in short, everything we ought to be brooding upon obsessively every single day of our earthly lives.