A Christmas Carol

Merry Christmas!

I’m going to be away from here for a couple more days, but I just thought I’d post this in the spirit of this time of year, and in the spirit of what the rest of our year should also probably look like.

I’ve been reading Dicken’s Christmas Carol, and every year it really rocks me. And if you’ve never read it, I’d encourage you to do so. Not watch one of the 18 different versions of it (And if you’re just not a reader, may I suggest the Patrick Stewart version…very close to the book and very well-directed and well-acted; you do, however, have to look over the most unfortunate special effects in cinema ever. As in, Ever), but actually read it. Dickens’ portrayal of love is the most haunting picture of it I have ever read.

“Not so much in obedience, as in surprise and fear: for on the raising of the hand, he became sensible of confused noises in the air; incoherent sounds of lamentation and regret; wailings inexpressibly sorrowful and self-accusatory. The spectre, after listening for a moment, joined in the mournful dirge; and floated out upon the bleak, dark night.

Scrooge followed to the window: desperate in his curiosity. He looked out.

The air was filled with phantoms, wandering hither and thither in restless haste, and moaning as they went. Every one of them wore chains like Marley’s Ghost; some few (they might be guilty governments) were linked together; none were free. Many had been personally known to Scrooge in their lives. He had been quite familiar with one old ghost, in a white waistcoat, with a monstrous iron safe attached to its ankle, who cried piteously at being unable to assist a wretched woman with an infant, whom it saw below, upon a door-step. The misery with them all was, clearly, that they sought to interfere, for good, in human matters, and had lost the power for ever.

Whether these creatures faded into mist, or mist enshrouded them, he could not tell. But they and their spirit voices faded together; and the night became as it had been when he walked home.”

It always wrecks me that the picture here is that hell for the damned is nothing more than having lost the power to show love and charity to their fellow man; the very thing that so many times I choose not to exercise the power to do.

So I’ve been trying to do that this year; and it’s kept me a bit absent from this blog, and probably will for a few more days. But the only way I know to truly love and celebrate Jesus’ birth, is to love Him. And we love Him by taking our time and everything we are to truly and honestly love those around us…our families, those in dire need, and the waitress who has to work the graveyard shift at Denny’s on Christmas Eve.

“And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'”

–Matthew 25:40

Merry Christmas. I hope it finds you all well!


22 thoughts on “A Christmas Carol

  1. Merry Christmas to you, Karl, and thanks for sharing so much of yourself with us. I know I’ve learned so much this last year about guitar, gear, and God because of you, and I’m sure countless others have as well. Keep the faith, brother!

  2. I have always loved this book (got a second Edition a few years ago for Christmas!), and have never considered that angle of their Hell being an inability to show love and compassion; that is really awesome insight!!!

    Thanks for doing this blog, mate; it takes courage to publicly lay yourself out in humility as you have done so many times this year! You’re doing the church a whole world of good with your ‘reality bites’ approach to worship, your honesty about gear desire, the never-ending search for tone, and your quest for quality all-round (Timelines are not expensive when used to worship Jesus;-) )

    Have a great Christmas and New Year! Can’t wait to read what you’ve got to say in 2011!!

    God Bless!

  3. Happy Christmas Karl and everyone.

    I’d definitely echo all the comments above – you and this blog are being used powerfully by God. Appreciate your work and your heart so much! You have helped take my quest for tone and my obsession with U2 to new levels.

    Just watched The Christmas Carol but it was the recent Jim Carrey version – now that was just plain weird. Glad I didn’t let the kiddies stay up to watch that one… think I’ll let them stick to the Muppets version.

  4. Hi Karl,

    First of all, let me say Merry Christmas!

    I’m a long time reader of your blog but am only now commenting for the first time 🙂

    Just wanted to say thanks for the wisdom, humor, and gear insight that you provide in your posts. I’ve really enjoyed reading them and always look forward to the next!

    Have a safe and happy holiday season and all the best to you and your family in the upcoming year.

    God bless!

    • Hey Nate-

      Although I am not Karl and not the most experienced with gear, I do know a little about noise problems because I have had them…

      If the issue is with the power, I would say definitely get a surge protector. (I’m not saying get that one…I use one that is $7.) If you are not going through a surge protector, that could be the problem because you might be using bad power…

      Hope this helps!

      • If your hearing the standard audio equipment frequency hum get yourself a power conditioner. These clean up the AC from the wall socket so your amp has something nice and clean to work with. Surge protectors just protect your gear against power surges which can be a sudden spike in voltage or current often caused by a power hungry appliance being switched on.

        If you’re getting radio through your amp (other random noises) this will probably be from a badly grounded building. Maybe your playing your guitar on the second floor of a building? Or it could be from single coil pickups just picking up noise which unfortunately doesn’t get canceled out with a single coil design. Or maybe a noisy electrical appliance next to your gear like a neon light. Some power conditioners claim to stop interference but in reality this isn’t possible unless it’s mains interference. Maybe you’re getting mains interference, idk.

        Hope that helps.

        • Yeh definitely get a power conditioner. Surge protector will prevent your gear from being fried, but it won’t eliminate a hum/noise. I have a CIOKS DC-10 power supply which is awesome – never knew I could have so much love for something that doesn’t create tone (really cleans it up though)

          And I agree with James – buildings can cause all sorts of noises. I was convinced my guitar had a nasty hum until I realised it had to do with the light dimmer in my music room at home… another reason to play with the lights out and just the beautiful glow of my pedal board. When I play in another room the hum is much less, and at church it is not there at all.

  5. Hey everyone, thanks so much for the encouragement. Wow, that means a lot to me; most of the time I’m just kind of flying blindly and just praying that maybe one word here and there might help someone play a different chord or change a little perspective and hence help glorify God just a tad more. So, thanks for letting me know it’s somewhat worth it. 🙂

    As for the hum issues, the ‘random noises’ part sounds like it could be preamp tubes (just off the top of my head.) And surge protectors are definitely a good thing to protect your gear; although if you’re going to spend $80, I’d jump on ebay and look for an actual power conditioner from Furman. Or go to Home Depot and grab a surge protector for $20. There’s this unfortunate ‘dead area’ with power supplies between about $20 and $150; once you hit $20 with something that has actual ‘surge protection’, there’s really not much difference until you get over $150, unfortunately. And in my humble experience, for what it’s worth, all that jazz. hehe

    • Random noises could be anything! 😉 power amp tubes, preamp tubes. dodgy connections, dodgy solder joints, effects bad grounding… maybe even the sound of a breaking speaker as the cone rips itself apart while you play. That would probably be an awful random noise.

  6. James–yep could be a plethora of things.

    Ben G–yes, he is a wonderful musician. I’ve talked with him a few times on Gear Page, and I believe he might even read over here from time to time.

    • Just saying, Karl, almost every guitarist reads over here! haha… you just have a great guitar/worship blog! God has really blessed you… I know He will use your site even more next yr!

  7. Yea, I was assuming it was picking up noise from random machines in my church. I don’t think it is the tubes because they are only 5 months old(I don’t THAT much) and they are JJ’s. Thanks for the tips!

  8. Brandon–thanks for the kind words, bro. Just gotta get Johnny Buckland over here now. 😉

    Nater2–ya, I guess that can happen. Randy just posted a few threads ago about them finally realizing the hum in their system was due to poorly grounded flourescent lights in the bathroom. Electricity is a crazy thing! haha

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