Friday, December 27, 2013

The Spirit of Christmas

"I have endeavoured in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it.
Their faithful Friend and Servant,
C. D."
 - Charles Dickens, December, 1843

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I've just finished reading A Christmas Carol from Charles Dickens for the first time. I thought it'd be appropriate for the holiday season. Growing up, I watched The Muppet's rendition of this novella at least once a year, and I confess that, at certain points, I envisioned The Muppet Christmas Carol as I read.

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Even if you haven't read this story, you're probably familiar with the phrase, "Bah! Humbug!" (A humbug is a fraud or something nonsensical.) You've most likely heard the name Scrooge, because it's so closely associated with tight-fistedness and an aversion to Christmas. However, A Christmas Carol is more than just a ghostly holiday story of a miser who's scared into generosity. This book encourages us to embody the spirit of Christmas--even after Christmastime.

Ebeneezer Scrooge is frightened into generosity after his encounter with the three spirits, and after seeing his own dead body, cold and alone, he fully realizes the high price of his greed. In the end, he is a changed man (and a very manic one). He not only gives his money, but he also gives his time to others.

The cold Christmas setting of Victorian England mirrors Scrooge's frigid heart, but it also serves as an instrument of comparison to emphasize the evil of greed. Christmastime is known for generosity and good cheer, accentuating Scrooge's greed and his willful ignorance of the deplorable conditions of the English working class. Even after Christmastime, Ebeneezer Scrooge takes the lessons he's learned and applies them to the rest of the year. It is a model that all of us can carry throughout our lives.

We live in a fast-paced world where material acquisition is encouraged and admired, but the best gifts cannot be bought!  Let's be more like the changed Scrooge throughout the year by giving more of ourselves to those around us.

2 comments:

  1. I read the original Christmas Carol last year and really enjoyed it, I loved the dry humour in it! I also watched The Muppet Christmas Carol when I was a kid, It was one of my favourites. When I was little, I used to mix up Bob Marley with Jacob Marley.

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    1. This is the first time I read it, and I really enjoyed it. I never knew it was humorous, but I was pleased to find out! That's funny about Bob Marley and Jacob Marley.

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