When the Christmas season comes around, there are many things people think of as far as traditions that bring to mind fond memories. A few of those are the many ways the church celebrates the birth of Christ as well as Holiday music, shows, and stories.
One of the most famous Christmas stories is the Charles Dickens’ tale depicting the miseries of misers and three ghosts – ‘A Christmas Carol’.
Lore has it that Dickens was desperate for money and quickly penned this novella that was originally published in 1843. A story that has resonated through the generations and endures to this day in so many different retellings, shows that the characters and concepts of this tale hits a nerve in mankind.
As a writer, I am fascinated by the longevity and potency that this novella still has. I feel the same about many writers whose works have endured the test of time, but at Christmas, this is the literary classic I admire the most.
Why does this story resonate so well without losing its power? I feel that it’s because it is more than a story. It is a mirror that shows the different aspects of humans through the centuries. Those aspects that will not be changed by the things we think of as modern life. We have the kind, generous people that are represented by Fred, Scrooge’s nephew and Scrooge’s old employer, Fezziwig. We have the long-suffering employee depicted in Bob Cratchit. And we have the seriously sickly boy with a big cheerful heart, Tiny Tim. Then there’s the main character, Ebenezer Scrooge, the whole reason for this tale to be told. A man so self-centered and diabolic in his own ways that he consistently tries to squelch the joyful spirit of Christmas with his greed, scowls and ‘bah humbugs’.
Even with a visitation from his long dead partner, Jacob Marley, someone he seemed to have some respect for, Scrooge is not deterred from the warnings beyond the grave. But through the visitations of the three spirits, he sees himself and his life through a “bystander’s eyes” and is confronted with the truth of who he was, is, and will be through revelations of his past, present, and future.
Also, in the truest versions of the story, when Scrooge is confronted with the horrific representations of ignorance and want, portrayed by the starved children traveling with the Ghost of Christmas Present, he can’t deny that he has been part of the problems in society by not reaching out to help his fellow man.
Wow! Dickens slaps everyone in the face with truth written into this tale of misers and ghosts… and it keeps being retold, revisited, and remembered to this very day and likely beyond…