It’s Christmas, and one of the top movies this season is “Disney’s A Christmas Carol”, a cartoon version of Charles Dickens’ novella starring Jim Carrey as Scrooge. Every year there seems to be a new version of “A Christmas Carol” either at the movies or on television or both. Also every Christmas season, “A Christmas Carol” is performed on hundreds of stages throughout the world.
Truth be known, I have never been a big fan of Charles Dickens as a novelist. For Victorian literature, I much prefer “Middlemarch” or “The Mill and the Floss” or “Adam Bede” by George Eliot or “Vanity Fair” by William Thackeray to the novels of Charles Dickens. Over the years, I’ve read several Dickens novels including “Hard Times” and “Great Expectations”, and they just never captivated me. I did quite like Dickens’ French Revolution novel, “A Tale of Two Cities”. Last year, I listened to “Oliver Twist” during my commutes. Many people love this story of Oliver Twist and Jack Dawkins “The Artful Dodger” and Fagin, but for some reason I was pretty much unmoved by the story.
But “A Christmas Carol” is the one exception of Dickens’ works that won me over even when I was a child. This story of the cold-hearted and tight-fisted Scrooge who is completely transformed after being visited by four ghosts on Christmas eve night has always had a powerful affect on me. The Ghost of Christmas Past, The Ghost of Christmas Present, and the Ghost of Christmas Future cover all stages of a person’s life. Scrooge has the opportunity to see his future which is really the future of every one of us, and that causes him to change profoundly. My favorite version of “A Christmas Carol” is the 1951 movie starring Alastair Sim which I try to watch every few years. But just about every version of “A Christmas Carol” has enough of the story in it to affect me. I even brought Scrooge into my daily program which I wrote quite a while ago. I wrote, “Don’t become overwhelmed with bitterness. It looks like I’m very susceptible to this emotion, and it could lead me to become a cold hard person while I am still young. I just have to keep catching myself and remember, just like Scrooge, it’s never too late to change.”
So maybe it’s time I accepted that Charles Dickens, the writer, has had a profound impact on my life. Give the man a tankard of ale, a large helping of roast duck, and some plum pudding. After all, it’s Christmas.