By Janice McCaffrey
While pondering the upcoming holidays my stream of consciousness meandered over past memories and future dreams. A few quiet moments of reflection led of course to Dickens’ ghosts. My favorite version is The Muppet Christmas Carol with Michael Caine.
I love the little mice bookkeepers working dutifully and diligently in the cold office under the supervision of the kind-hearted Bob Cratchit performed by Kermit. Best of all though is the interplay between Rizzo the Rat acting as sidekick to Gonzo while he narrates the story as Charles Dickens himself.
My thoughts bumped over the moral of the story and what it means in today’s world. I got stuck on ‘don’t be stingy’ but wanted more. So what else is Dickens telling us?
On enotes.com’s website where they proclaim “We’re the Literature Experts” I found an article by Christian Themes (literary essentials: Christian fiction and nonfiction) titled A Christmas Carol Themes. Let me paraphrase:
Scrooge’s initial penny-pinching reflects the values taking hold during the Industrial Revolution. Dickens illustrates what happens when individuals view relationships and other people through their financial worth. The author exposes the tremendous gap between the rich and the poor.
Then he illustrates a solution, individual redemption. The world becomes a better place almost immediately after Scrooge changes his outlook. The story implies that a renewed connection to humanity is, in fact, the very essence of redemption. His change is not introspective and personal; it is outward-looking and social.
While the results of Scrooge’s change didn’t alter the social structure itself, the compassion he showed to individual people did change the social relationships they shared. Despair turned to hope. isolation to belonging, and unhappiness to joy.
Wow! And I thought it was just fun to watch.
Yes, it’s a Christian based tale, but certainly can be applied to all of us no matter our beliefs. Let’s follow Scrooge’s example, enhance our relationships, and join Tiny Tim in his prayer.
“God bless us, every one!”