When the Ghost of Christmas future takes Ebenezer Scrooge to see a possible future that could exist if he doesn’t change his greedy ways he sees a Christmas that follows shortly after he dies. As he sees this vision of the future, he sees that people are actually not mourning him. People he did business with can’t seem bothered to attend his funeral, and his debtors are actually relieved that he is gone. The only ones who take pleasure are an old pawn dealer, Old Joe, along with an Undertaker, a char woman and a laundress who peck over his personal belongings, like vultures on Carion.
Contrast this with the vision he sees of Tiny Tim’s family. The Crachits are deeply saddened by the loss of Tim. They mourn him, they miss him, and they remember him. They think fondly of him and recall the good times. Even Scrooge’s nephew Fred offers his deepest sympathies to them and offers to do what he can to help him.
Scrooge quickly learns that as necessary as it is to have money, to pursue money and wealth at the exclusion of all else, is a meaningless existence. There is but one common fate for all, and in the end, and if he does not change Scrooge will meet that fate old, alone, and miserable. His wealth can do him no good in forestalling that fate, but as he learns Tim and the Crachits are more wealthy in spirit. They have the most important thing, which is love.
To have love, to have friends is worth far more than money. While it may not help pay the bills or fix a depressed economy it gives one a wealth they can take with them all their life. It’s a wealth that reminds them of the one thing we all yearn to know: that we are not alone, that we are needed and that we have not failed in life. It is not unlike what George Bailey sees in It’s a Wonderful Life. Old Man Potter the meanest and richest man in Bedford Falls lives alone and frightens and bullies everyone. Baily looks out for everyone, sacrificing even his dreams for others. This ends up being of greater wealth than any business preposition that Potter could offer.
After George sees a vision of life without him, he comes home to find that his wife called everyone in town. Every person he helped, every friend he made, every family member .They all pitch in and give what they can, and in the end they more than make up the money he lost. Then he finds a gift on the table from his guardian angel, a copy of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer with a message from his Guardian Angel Clarence.
The message reads,“ No man is failure who has friends.”
Indeed in this entire world, there is no greater gift then that of friendship. To reach out and befriend another, to help those in need, to put the needs of others above your own desires, and in turn to change the life of another person is probably the greatest act that any person can achieve. It may not garner you a Nobel Prize or get you named Time’s Person of the Year, but you will be an important part of another person’s life every day of every year.
When Scrooge awakens after his travels with the Spirits he finds his whole life before him and he has the chance to make amends. He has the time to reach out and befriend others. In the end not only do the Crachits come to love him, but so to do many of the other people in London, and his grim future is averted. We too have that choice. Do we choose to persue wealth at the cost of all else, or do we help make the world better by changing the lives of each person we meet, just by being their friend and being there for them in the good times and bad?
The choice is yours.