The Ever Hopeful Message of Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol

The gift of hope for a new year

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To put it mildly, it’s been a helluva year. The horror of the pandemic, the devastating unnecessary loss of lives, the viciousness of one party over the election, the anger, the fear, the sadness. Fissures in families and friendships over political beliefs—let’s face it, it was a tough time for all.

But now it’s the Christmas season and you need something—anything—to restore your faith in the world. You’re suffering from pandemic fatigue, and you’re too tired to do much of anything yet not so tired that you can sleep.

One of the best ways to bring semblance back to your world may lie in the movies or in one particular one, Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. The story of a lonely, bitter man who placed wealth above human relationships and is redeemed one cold Christmas Eve is as significant today as it was in the 1800’s.

That Ebenezer Scrooge suffered tremendously in life, (a distant father who blamed him because his mother died giving him life, a beloved sister who died the same way as their mother died), all contributed to the man he becomes. Avarice became his god replacing any religion he may have had.

There are myriad films based on the book but, my personal choice is the 1954 version starring the incomparable Alistair Sim. His portrayal of Ebenezer Scrooge ranges from serious and bitter at the beginning of the film to a man who is vulnerable, warm-hearted and able to laugh at himself by the story’s end. His is the definitive Scrooge and one that is truest to Dickens’ written character.

I love the story of the mean miser who, through the help of his ghostly former business partner and the visitation of otherworldly Christmas spirits, is made to remember just what the season should mean—love, kindness, and compassion for all humanity. My friend who is a rabbi celebrates Hanukkah at this time of the year and still enjoys watching A Christmas Carol each yearfor its positive and uplifting message. He says that, at its very core, Dickens’ story of is one of hope not only for the human race but for the world as a whole.

The birth of a baby and the subsequent message of hope that brings is what we are all seeking. It doesn’t matter what your personal religious beliefs it is the idea of what a new birth means.

Think of the birth of any child. It is an event filled with hope and love, with the promise of a new beginning. All this is given to Scrooge on that cold Christmas Eve. In essence all forms of birth, physical, emotional, professionally, personally, give us a new lease on life.

The older I get the more I believe that the Christmas story in Bethlehem, whether true or not, transcends all religious beliefs. It is the story of new beginnings, of a belief in miracles, of love actually triumphing, of a chance to renew our feelings of possibilities. It is a story to which all people of all faiths and spiritual beliefs can relate—new life.

Starting anew are what Dickens wrote about in A Christmas Carol. It is a story for all who those who want to believe in new beginnings. I certainly want to believe that there’s a positive and wonderful new beginning waiting for us in 2021.

So my wish for you this holiday season is that you be blessed with hope. As for gifts, may humor be a gift you give yourself, and may you give the priceless gifts of kindness and compassion to all.

Finally, may the New Year bring you a chance for new beginnings and renewed faith in life that anything, anything at all, is possible.

Love, Peace, Happiness, 

Stay well and safe,


© copyright 2020 Kristen Houghton all rights reserved

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