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So I Was Thinking...

So I Was Thinking..... by Bill Stewart In 1843, Charles Dickens published one of the most widely known Christmas stories ever written. As one of the greatest Victorian era novelists, his book, simply titled A Christmas Carol, has long been considered one of the greatest Christmas stories to have been penned. When published, it was immediately and immensely popular.

Since the first printing, dozens of movies have been made and numerous stage productions have been produced based on the story. Some of the movies have been animated. Many have featured exceptionally popular and accomplished actors.

One drawback to Dickens’ story, however, is that it includes scenes involving the paranormal. Regardless of this culturally questionable inclusion, the story contains a great moral and remains widely popular for family reading and viewing.

For those who might not be familiar with the story, A Christmas Carol features as the main character Ebenezer Scrooge, a miser whose name is synonymous with greed, selfishness, and even a bitter hatred of Christmas and all things associated with it. In the beginning of the story, he is portrayed as a character who cares for no one or nothing but money.

The setting takes place one Christmas Eve when Scrooge is visited by three spirits. Jacob Marley, his deceased business partner and probably his only friend, died years earlier and left him alone to run the business with his lone office employee Bob Cratchit, who was likely the closest thing Scrooge had to a friend.

That Eve, Ebenezer was invited by his nephew to join the family for Christmas dinner. Scrooge refused. He wished only to be alone, so he left his cold, drafty office and when home. As he slept, the ghost of Marley appeared and warned him that he would be visited by three spirits. Marley’s soul had been condemned to hell for his own personal greed, but he hoped the spirits would be able to save Scrooge.

The first visit was from the ghost of Christmas Past who took Scrooge on a journey through the Christmases of his childhood, first with his younger sister, and then with Fezziwig, his first employer, who was the exact opposite of Scrooge. He loved both Christmas and people. This journey reminded Scrooge of how much fun he’d had during those years.

The second spirit was the ghost of Christmas Present, who took him on a tour of the Christmas holidays being celebrated Bob Cratchit, who had a sickly son named Tiny Tim. Scrooge realized that he paid Bob so little that the Cratchit family virtually lived in poverty. Though the family has many reasons to be unhappy, Scrooge observed their loving kindness toward each other and how it brightened even the most difficult situation. As Scrooge observed the family, he began to care for Tiny Tim, but was then warned by the spirit that the future indeed looked very bleak for the small boy.

When the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come arrived, things took a dark and dreary turn for Scrooge as he saw what the world would be like after he passed away. Not only was there no one who cared enough to mourn his death, the world was even a colder place because of the type of life he had lived. The result was that Scrooge finally saw the error of his ways and began to beg for a chance to make things right.

He awoke to find that instead of a long period of time, only one night had passed. Suddenly being full of Christmas cheer, Ebenezer went into town and bought the Cratchit family a Christmas goose, showing that he had discovered a newfound generosity and love for Christmas.

In his holiday tale, Dickens used the story of a miserly old man and his miraculous transformation from living as a money-grubbing loner to exemplify many of the industrial revolutionists of that era. One can see the relevance of the story in our world today. It seems everywhere one looks, there is increasingly more greed of various types, a lack of compassion for the unfortunate and underprivileged, little concern for the hurting and discouraged, and almost no encouragement for those who are trying so desperately and passionately to care for their loved ones and themselves.

Love, compassion, selflessness, sharing, a helping hand… These are characteristics that can be learned and transferred from A Christmas Carol to our lives. Unfortunately, too often people only read a story such as this for entertainment value only and don’t glean from it the theme or moral of what has been written.

So, I was thinking… I’ll take away from the story what Dickens intended for his readers to learn, and I’ll apply those principles to the life I lead and the example I set for my children. Perhaps that will be passed down to my future grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who in turn can help make this world a better place for everyone. And please allow me to wish you a very Merry Christmas!

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