Mankind is our Business

Just sat down and re-watched the first half of the 1984 George C. Scott, A Christmas Carol. If you haven't seen it you really should. It's on Netflix's streaming service right now. Scott makes a fearsome Scrooge, but one with a sense of humor and a deep humanity bubbling under surface. This is definitely my favorite version of the story. (With Bill Murray's Scrooged coming in at a very close second, of course) Watching tonight I was struck by this line, spoken, wailed really, by Marley's ghost just after Scrooge comments that he was a good "man of business."

"Business! 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!"

There's alot of great stuff in these three sentences. The urging to greater charity and mercy is wonderful, but I also like that it isn't unrealistic. Marley isn't telling Scrooge that his trade is meaningless or wrong, he's simply saying that the world, and his responsibilities to it, are greater than that.

Yes, I guess this is the obligatory "Christmas isn't about presents" post. I swear I'll make it brief.

All around us there are people who are cold and hungry and horribly alone. We tend to think of them more around this time of year, which is great, but the trick is to keep those people as a part of our business year round.

Now there are all kinds of ways to do this, but if giving money is your thing, know that giving to charity in the age of the internet is great. Almost any charity you can name has a system in place where you can pledge a small recurring amount, say $20 a month or less. You give them your info, the money comes out of your account every month and, honestly, you will likely never even realize it's happening.

Another tool I love and use often is Charity Navigator.  There are alot of people out there asking for money so it makes sense to learn as much about a charity you're thinking of giving too as possible. Charity Navigator gives you a central place to browse charities and then get detailed info on a charity's finances, their governance, their programs as well as editorial and user reviews. It's a great portal to giving with an unworried mind.

Ok, that's my pitch. I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas!