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How Scrooge Stole Christmas...and Our Hearts    

“Good Afternoon,” moms! I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas. I just saw the movie musical retelling of Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol in theaters, Spirited. Spirited, made by Apple TV is a fun, fresh musical take on that beloved Dickens story and in my opinion a new Christmas classic. It was absolutely fantastic and made me even more excited to write this article about that classic Christmas tale. (That is the most I have written the word “Christmas” in any opening statement of mine.) This article, while I have loved it, has been very difficult to write. What can be said about A Christmas Carol that has not already been said? Published on December 19, 1843, this wonderful short story was sold out by Christmas Eve back in Dicken’s day and continues to be just as beloved one hundred and seventy-five years later. It also happens to be my absolute favorite Christmas story of the season (second only to the first Christmas story, namely the birth of Christ). Due to my mom working at a southern California theater, I grew up in and around an annual production of A Christmas Carol and had several passages of the book memorized by the time I was eight years old. I completely fell in love with the book and that old stage production is still my favorite adaptation. This story has been talked about so many times before that I am sure most of you know the story and why it is such a timeless piece of classic literature. Still, for all of us who love it and all those who may be less familiar with it, I will give a short summary, and then I will talk about why I think the story is still so loved. This book has a message that saved me in a time of need, and I am sure that it is a message that can greatly lift up anyone who chooses to hear it, young and old.

The story centers around Ebenezer Scrooge, a sour, wicked old man who hoards money and hates Christmas. His joyless existence is interrupted by a ghostly visit on Christmas Eve from his deceased business partner, Jacob Marley. Marley warns Scrooge of his wrongdoings and sends him on a journey through his entire life with Three Spirits- Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Future. The Spirits show Scrooge his entire journey through life, from a little boy to an old man, and what he sees inspires him to become a changed man, dedicating his wealth to the betterment of mankind. This magical tale of redemption turns Scrooge from a bitter recluse to a joyful, generous old man, and he lives a great life, blessing others for the rest of his days.

Most of this great author’s stories are still celebrated to this day. Why? The writing itself. Charles Dickens is a literary genius, with such wonderfully rich descriptions that draws the reader into scenes and brings each and every character to real and tangible life. I'm a huge fan of his books, and though his poetic use of the English language can be a little challenging, his writing is an absolute delight to read every time. Out of all his classics, A Christmas Carol is arguably his most popular. It captures everything good about Christmas- family, friends, peace, and good will toward men. Personally, I think that it beautifully illustrates not only Christmas and the story of Scrooge, but our story as well. Every one of us has made mistakes, lost sight of the path, or said and done things they’ve regretted. I have a terrible temper and struggle with anxiety, which means that sometimes I catch myself being very mean to those I care about. On my worst days I sometimes don't consider myself worthy of forgiveness or a second chance from my family, my friends, or even from my God. I know I'm not the only one who has felt this way, We all have those moments when we look in the mirror and think, "This is a lost cause. Why bother trying?" That is why A Christmas Carol has been adapted and re-made so many times. The redemption of Scrooge is a powerful reminder that no matter what we do, or how much we screw up, or how lost we are, there is ALWAYS a chance to turn back and change course. It took Scrooge until he was well into old age to get his life back on track, but as soon as he allowed his heart to be transformed by the Spirits, he changed for the better, and he made a positive change in the world around him.

Ebenezer Scrooge's story of redemption in the face of impossible odds is also your story, and my story, it speaks to the struggles and potential of every human on Earth. Even if you’ve heard this tale a hundred times, I strongly encourage everyone to read this poignant portrait of humanity. On a scale of one to five stars, I give A Christmas Carol a seven! At least once, give this book a try – maybe out loud to your kids. It can be a difficult read, but it is well worth it. A very Merry (Late) Christmas to you all.

“And so, as Tiny Tim observed: God bless us, every one!”

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