As if it cost a fortune

Dancing at Fezziwig's party, at The Dickens Christmas Fair, San Francisco 2002

Dancing at Fezziwig’s party, at The Dickens Christmas Fair, San Francisco 2002

“He has the power to render us happy or unhappy; to make our service light or burdensome; a pleasure or a toil.  Say that his power lies in words and looks; in things so slight and insignificant that it is impossible to add and count ’em up: what then?  The happiness he gives, is quite as great as if it had cost a fortune.” 
Charles Dickens in A Christmas Carol

In a book filled with memorable quotes, this description of the jolly Mr. Fezziwig stands out as one of my favorites.  Over the years I have often reflected on these words with respect to both my employers and those employees I have supervised.  But the truth expressed here goes beyond employment, touching all our relationships with others.  The power we have to brighten or darken each other’s lives is wonderful and a bit terrifying.  In countless small ways, we can create happiness as great as if it cost a fortune.  Let’s use this power wisely.


  1. What a part of our childhood memories is A Christmas Carol! And thank you for sharing the Dickens Christmas Fair with me. That also was/is a magical memory

    • Thanks, Carla. One of the things I miss most about living in Northern California is being able to go to the Dickens Fair every year.

  2. A small gift (for me priceless) which can be offered often: the “gift of prayer”, for it lightens the “load” of the giver & receiver, for to pray for One is to pray for All. “You are also joining to help us when you pray for us.” 2 Corin. 1:11 GWT. i pray & pray for you & me & ours “Count it All JOY.” L U

    • Yes, prayer is the best gift we can give! Like Shakespeare’s description of mercy, “It is twice blest: It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.” This year, our family needs prayer more than ever, and we are deeply grateful for every person who prays for us.

  3. Carlyle

    A very timely observation at this time of year

    • Thanks, Daddy…we heard it from you first! Drew once described our clan’s love of A Christmas Carol as “a family heirloom.” We are all grateful to have heard this story from you yearly as far back as we can remember.

  4. Read this to my children this morning as we read this chapter in “A Christmas Carol” only yesterday. Fun!

    • Barb, you are creating precious memories for your children! I’m so glad you are reading this wonderful story to them.

  5. Amy

    I am always sad I never got to go there with you. You bring much happiness to my life. I have treasured our friendship. God bless you.

    • Well Amy, perhaps that should be on our bucket list of places we need to go together. Thanks for your steadfast and loyal friendship. I cannot imagine how we would have gotten through the past 22 years without you and your family!

  6. MaryAnn

    Julia, your take on words & your seemingly endless “suppy” of quotes stored in your head/heart add such joy to me! You are in our prayers! I love you…

    • Mary Ann, people like you inspire all these beautiful quotes — you live them. The happiness you gave Matt (and therefore the rest of his family) is quite as great as if it cost a fortune!


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