My favorite author is unquestionably Charles Dickens. My favorite book is A Tale of Two Cities. However, given the time of year I decided to read another one of Dickens’ most beloved stories: A Christmas Carol.
It wasn’t the first time I’ve read the timeless classic about the miser Ebenezer Scrooge, but its message still rings as true as it did on December 19, 1843 when it was first published. I mean obviously there’s a reason why people who don’t like Christmas are called Scrooge, and why everyone knows who Tiny Tim is, and we all know who said “Bah Humbug!” There’s something special enough about this story that we are all familiar with it, even if we haven’t read it.
For one thing, Dickens’ A Christmas Carol set the standard for Christmas stories and eventually Christmas movies. It was the first of its kind, and undoubtedly the best. However, I believe that much of what is considered today as “Christmas spirit” isn’t necessarily the same type of spirit that dear old Scrooge was exposed to by the three spirits.
With the unbelievable barrage of Christmas advertising beginning as early as October or November, Christmas has become commercialized in a way that I’m sure Dickens could never have imagined. I believe that Santa Claus has driven this commercialization because children are taught that you can send Santa a wish list with anything and everything on it. People are so set on having their children believe in Santa that they go to unmeasurable lengths to ensure their child gets what he or she asked Santa for. This has made Christmas about getting stuff.
Tiny Tim and his family don’t seem to have any notion of some saint bringing presents to children who are nice. They seem happy to simply be together as a family for Christmas.
“They were not a handsome family; they were not well dressed; their shoes were far from being waterproof; their clothes were scanty… but they were happy, grateful, pleased with one another, and contented with the time…”
Now I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with getting gifts for Christmas, in fact gift giving is great. But if the spirit of the day lies in getting, you may end up being the real Scrooge, who thought wealth was a measure of happiness before his transformation.
When the Ghost of the Future shows Scrooge that he will die cold and alone, Ebenezer vows to change his ways and says, “I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” And I think that’s what we should do. Keep the spirit of giving, gratitude, love and Christmas with us all year long.
Why should we remember Christmas all year long? Well, if you want to know that you need to read another story. A true story which is far truer and far better than anything the great Charles Dickens wrote. Merry Christmas.
“Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.’” Luke 2:10-11