Posted in Books, Deep Thoughts

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas CarolA Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

2017 review:

Reading this classic novella is a Christmas tradition for me, one that I’ve adhered faithfully to for the past seven years. And it seems as if, with each passing year, this little book resonates more and more deeply with me.

I believe that Dickens was divinely inspired in the writing of this story. It has inspired so many people and so many retellings. Like the best of classic literature, it endures. And like the best stories, whatever form they take, it has a meaningful message, one that has done nothing but deepen with age like a fine wine.

We as a modern society have largely lost the meaning of Christmas. Thankfully, we don’t have to look any further than the most popular and retold Christmas tales (outside of the Story that Christmas celebrates) to be reminded of what Christmas truly represents. Christmas is a time to remember the greatest Gift we were ever given, in the form of the birth of Christ. It is a time to give to others, to pull up those beaten down by society, to let the embers of what is best and brightest within us be fanned back into the flames that the trials of life have dampened. It is a time to put our fellow man’s needs above our own, to reach out to those less fortunate than ourselves and help them to feel loved and appreciated. It’s a time to do everything in our power to foster smiles and laughter and a sense of magic within the heart of children, no matter their age. It’s a time to spread the amazing love we’ve been given, and to proclaim the message of the One who loves us so lavishly. But so often, we are instead consumed by business and commercialism and our own menial problems to remember the reason for the season and to look outside of ourselves at the needs of others.

This is a lesson Ebenezer Scrooge learns one Christmas night, and it’s one he takes to heart. I absolutely love the manner in which that lesson is conveyed here. The meaning of Christmas doesn’t come across as trite, but is instead deep and rich and something that should live in our hearts every day of the year, not just on December 25th. And that message, and the beautiful way it’s expressed, is why rereading this story will remain a Christmas tradition for me for as many Christmases as I live.
Merry Christmas, y’all. And may God bless us, every one.

2016 review:

Is there any story in literary history that has been adapted more often than A Christmas Carol? If you can think of one, please let me know. Between plays, movies, television episodes, books, and radio, Dickens’ short Christmas morality tale has been adapted literally hundreds of times. Something about the story has resonated with audiences for over 170 years, and shows no sign of growing irrelevant any time soon. I think Dickens managed to say well something that all of us feel deep inside ourselves; Christmas is about giving with an open heart.

The name Ebenezer Scrooge has become synonymous with being miserly, tight-fisted, greedy, callous, uncaring, and perhaps most of all, being resentful of the Christmas season. How often have you heard the term “Don’t be a Scrooge” during the month of December, sometimes aimed at others undeservedly? That being said, Scrooge deserved that application of his name, undoubtedly. At the beginning of Dickens’ tale, he’s one of the most unlikeable central characters in literature. But Christmas is a season of second chances, and one such change to change is granted to Scrooge. He’s taken on a wild ride on Christmas Eve, a ride I’m sure most of you are familiar with. Through the aid of three Spirits, he is shown Christmases from his past, the Christmas of the present, and the Christmas he will earn in the future if he doesn’t mend his ways.

But mend his ways he does! I can’t recall any other character in literature who turned his life around so completely as did Ebenezer Scrooge when he woke on Christmas day. And he maintained the true Spirit of Christmas until the end of his days, we’re told. He didn’t need to be reminded again of what was truly important. The Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present, and Future did their jobs well. But we as the audience tend to forget the true meaning of Christmas, letting it get lost in the shuffle and commercialism that accompany that most wonderful time of the year. Maybe that’s why people keep coming back to Dickens’ story and retelling it in so many different ways. Scrooge no longer needs reminding, but we do. And so his story will always be relatable, whether we prefer our Scrooge in the form of Patrick Stewart or Bill Murray or Scrooge McDuck. Dickens reminds us that Christmas is a time of giving and miracles and appreciating those around us, and that message will always resonate.

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