A Christmas Carol

scrooge

Who doesn’t love a good story of Scrooge at Christmas? The miserly man who hates the holiday cheer, is reformed through a series of rather confronting dreams and wakes to a new lease on life, love and generosity.

However, on closer inspection,  the story may have sinister 19th century overtones.  Ebenezer [Hebrew for “help of God”] Scrooge,  owns a counting house and is a notoriously miserly business man. He has no love for Christmas, and hates the very sentiment. However, three spirits appear to him in dreams and show him Christmases past and present, recounting life events including his own future death. This is enough to inspire in him a love of the Christmas and good cheer to all.

Does anyone else notice something suspicious about a cold hearted, money hungry, eccentric old man, with a Jewish name in London, chief of a counting house who hates the very idea of Christian holiday ? Faced with his own imminent cold grave, his own selfishness is illuminated, he repents and becomes joyful and generous.

a-christmas-carol1

The story moves from a tale of human redemption to something dated by racial overtones. While the story of restoration through a realisation of Christ’s birth is joyful, unfortunately Dickens tale errs to moralism – Scrooge is Jewish and selfish and should become Christian and generous.  I’m not the only one who thinks so:

http://blogs.riverfronttimes.com/dailyrft/2010/12/dickens_christmas_carol_anti-s.php

If Christians are to tell stories of redemption, we are better to take a biblical [and indeed Hebrew] perspective of how the narrative plays out. The protagonist is always the common one, always flawed. One does not become a follower of Christ by accepting the holidays and charitable ways – but by radically being confronted by the grace given.

 

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3 thoughts on “A Christmas Carol

  1. Interesting. I’ve never really thought of A Christmas Carol as a Christian Story. For what it’s worth, after reading this, I checked out Wikipedia to get some background on the story – and they have it as an examination of various new and old Christmas “traditions”, but never actually mention “Christianity” in the entire article.
    To that end – my favorite versions are the old Disney one – Mickey’s Christmas Carol and the newer Muppet’s Christmas Carol. Again – neither one even remotely Christian. I just like them ’cause they’re both really funny!
    So I agree – you make a good point. This story is very much the opposite of Christmas with “Christ” as the theme. Rather – it’s all about us supposedly being able to change ourselves and fix things ourselves – Jesus not needed.

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