His name was Ebeneezer Scrooge. A man wrapped up in his own life and possessiveness of all he owned. Suffering of others meant nothing to him. He not only lacked the Christmas spirit but also lacked the ability to love. Charles Dickens had it right. Whether he knew it or not, his story was not only about those times he lived in but for all time after.
In 1843 Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol, the most successful book of that holiday season. It had sold six thousand copies into the new year. This was in 1843! Since then thousands of theatrical productions, film adaptations, radio presentations, recordings, operas, bilingual editions, graphic novels and parodies have brought Scrooge’s life into the lives of everyone.
This miser lacked concern for man and womankind. A boy who suffered as a child, his heart hardened. Put the poor in the poorhouse. Let those who are suffering die. Harsh, the harshest words. Closing doors that the heart should open. I believe these ghosts visit us all. They are all around us asking us to embrace humankind, to change, to make lives better for all. And, in the end if we do not listen, that big nasty ghost comes to visit, asking us what good we have done in our lives.
The message of A Christmas Carol took the reader past the season of goodwill. The change in Scrooge impacted his city, his family and the future. As the ghost says, “It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow men, and travel far and wide; and, if the spirit goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death.”
My favorite adaptation of A Christmas Carol is the musical Scrooge starring Albert Finney. The music of the 1970’s adaptation is so beautifully written and haunts you long after you have watched the film. I am sure Mr. Dickens would love it as much as me.
The season is upon us. Dickens is once more invited into my home to inspire me and to make me a better person. “I have endeavored 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 down,” said Dickens.
I say, “Thank you, Charles Dickens…..God bless us everyone.”