It is appropriate that on this Christmas Eve I write about “A Christmas Carol” It is my all time favorite story at Christmas time. Some of you might be saying, “But Jane, you write a lot about your faith. Shouldn’t the Nativity Story be your favorite?”
In your thinking, yes, the Nativity story should be my favorite. While it is why we celebrate Christmas, I relate so well to the characters or Charles Dickens. On a simplistic level, it is a story about a man who relives his life and sees that he could be a better person. Or, it is about money; how you don’t need money to be happy and sometimes money, or the love of money (very religious) can make you very lonely. I guess I should just say that “A Christmas Carol” is my favorite movie.
It is about family dysfunction and how unresolved feelings can make you a wreck. It is about the innocence of youth. I could keep going but the complexity is not my point. My point is about the world!
My last couple of writings have dealt with the troubles of this world as I see it. It has been about the need to be #1 and forget the facts. The facts can be figured out later. So with that, I begin.
As I was getting ready for our Christmas Eve service, I was watching the scene when Jacob Marley was visiting Ebenezer Scrooge. He talked about the chains that he forged, “oh, those seven years ago,” and how Scrooge’s chains were as long as Marley’s back then. Marley spoke of the additional chains that have been forged since his passing. And I started thinking about the Marley’s of the world; I began to wonder how many people are out there that too, have forged so many chains that they are not aware. That not until their death, did they realize the errors of their ways, the wrongs that they have committed here on this earth. And I felt sad for all of the Marley’s that live here today. That will learn when it is too late.
Then I began thinking of the Scrooge’s out there. I wasn’t thinking of the curmudgeon of a Scrooge because that would be Marley. No, I was thinking of the Scrooge’s out there that have had an epiphany and have changed their ways. I think of those people who were selfish and mean and now, for whatever reason, have become giving and caring and redemptive. I think how lucky those people are to have the same opportunity that Ebenezer had to change his ways and become a better person.
When you think of “A Christmas Carol”, you cannot forget the spirits. Depending on the version of “A Christmas Carol” you watch determines the spirit that you get. Some of the versions have the Ghost of Christmas Past as a young woman, sometimes an old man. Sometimes the spirit is very serious and other times, almost like a silly goose (an oca loca, is what my daughter would say). The director has taken the story and used his/her own spin to decide that past.
I could see using the different characterizations because at the beginning, Scrooge seemed an abused child and therefore sad. After he became an apprentice to Fezziwig, he became jovial and full of life. But he became sad and angry into adulthood. Because of this, I could see where the ghost could be portrayed in different ways if your belief is the ghost could be a reflection of life.
It is interesting that the Ghost of Christmas Present may be presented differently in appearance but he seems to always be a ghost with a jovial laugh. There is always a great deal of food and light. It would appear that he will be uplifting but that is not the case. Yes, it is true that he shows many happy families and celebrations; but he also shows the reality of life. He reminds Ebenezer that there is poverty and hurt and despair in the world. And that Ebenezer has a responsibility to help if he has the means.
Sadly, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is always ominous, mysterious and scary. As child, it is scary to look at and I would seem to turn away when I was younger. As an adult it is the reminder of death and that it is looming. I know that ghost is to scare Ebenezer into seeing that his life is not worth much and that he garners no respect. But sometimes I wish this ghost would have different personas like the other ghosts. I guess maybe everyone who has produced a Christmas Carol story, felt that Dickens did a fine job with this character.
I don’t know that I have experienced a Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. I do think there are times that I am scared into looking at my present and how my present may affect my future. There are times that I wonder if I fall into the category of a Marley, that I do not see the chains that I have forged in my life – chains that will not be revealed until death.
I do love the end of the story; Ebenezer Scrooge has seen the light and for the rest of his days was a loving and giving man. I really hope that is how I will be remembered, not for the awful things but for the good. I do not believe that I am a Scrooge; not a ‘before ghosts’ Scrooge or an ‘after ghosts’ Scrooge. I am probably a cross between Scrooge and Cratchit, not always bad but not always good.
I wish for everyone, the memorable Tiny Tim statement, “God Bless us, every one!”
Merry Christmas and Blessings to you all.