“A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens is a Christmas classic. It’s one that many of us read or watch every year. Is it really Christmastime without reading about Ebenezer Scrooge and how Christmas becomes his favorite holiday again?
If, for some reason, you haven’t read “A Christmas Carol” or you just need a refresher, here’s a quick recap.
Ebenezer Scrooge hates Christmas. He hates people who ask for donations, people who say “Merry Christmas,” anything and everything to do with Christmas. He’s stingy with money (he won’t even put enough coal in the furnace so his clerk doesn’t freeze or even pay him enough to take care of his family) and doesn’t really talk to anyone. When he goes home on Christmas Eve, he notices the face of his old friend and business partner, Jacob Marley, on the door knocker. He gets surprised by it, but carries on and goes inside.
Later on, as he’s eating dinner, he is visited by Jacob Marley’s ghost. Jacob tells Ebenezer that if he doesn’t change, then he’ll end up like Jacob, weighed down by chains of things that he did and forced to be stuck like that for all eternity. Jacob mentions that Scrooge will be visited by three other ghosts after midnight. The first will be the Ghost of Christmas Past, the second is the Ghost of Christmas Present, and the is the Ghost of Christmas Future.
After Jacob leaves, Scrooge is kind of skeptical about the whole thing, but he’s also kind of wary and not sure what to expect. Each ghost shows him different parts of his life and how he and others are or will be affected by the way he acts. Once he realizes the affect that he has on others, he changes and becomes nice again.
What I really like about this story is how it’s about realizing the affect that we have on others. If we’re not nice and helpful, that could really hurt us in the end and it could affect others negatively as well in ways that we can’t imagine or wouldn’t even think of (i.e. Tiny Tim dyeing because Scrooge doesn’t pay his father enough for them to live). And it could drive away those who really care about us and who want us to be happy and have fun. We really need to pay attention to how we are affecting others by what we do or don’t do.
It’s also a good example of how we need to be careful of how we let our circumstances affect us. Scrooge didn’t have many friends growing up and he was often one of the last ones to go home for breaks (if he went home at all). He had many things happen to him and those close to him around Christmas which really affected his view of Christmas. Eventually, it became a time that he hated and he stopped looking forward to it. And that affected the way that he treated others and his personality. It affected him so much, that he became the most hated and feared man in town. But once he realized exactly how he had changed and how it was affecting others/how it could affect others, he changed and did everything he could to help those around him and change how he was viewed.
This is a really good story about giving and helping others. It’s also a good way for us to think about how we treat others. All in all, it’s a good story for Christmas time or for any time really.