Daily Word of Grace # 235 (May 6, 2021)

Undoubtedly one of the greatest novelists of all time is the incomparable Charles Dickens (1812-1870).  While he was prolific and popular he was often criticized by wealthy people for his honest and empathetic descriptions of the indigent and marginalized, the down and out.  Part of his gift for this was based on his painful childhood experience of seeing his father sent to debtors prison and his therefore having to work in a boot blacking factory as a boy, where he experienced firsthand what he would write about in so many of his novels: the struggles of the poor.  In his preface to Oliver Twist Dickens bluntly wrote, “But as the stern truth, even in the dress of this (in novels) much exalted race, was a part of the purpose of this book, I did not, for these readers, abate one hole in the Dodger’s coat, or one scrap of curl-paper in Nancy’s disheveled hair.  I had no faith in the delicacy which could not bear to look upon them.  I had no desire to make proselytes among such people.  I had no respect for their opinion, good or bad; did not covet their approval; and did not write for their amusement.”  In his incarnation Jesus was born in a barn, raised by a carpenter, lived and ministered among the poor, and was crucified among criminals.  Jesus never has turned a blind eye to “the stern truth” of the struggles of humanity, including your personal struggles.  Jesus is fully aware of every hole in your coat and every scrap of curl paper in your disheveled hair—and has always been and will always be “moved with compassion” (Matthew 9:36) for you.

Love and Prayers,