I was in CVS the other day and realized, amidst the gold ribbons and chocolate Santas, that it was that time of year again. Christmas: a holiday that people take extra jobs to afford. Yep. I saw plenty of ads on Craigslist advertising jobs that will help people afford cool Christmas presents for friends and family. The North Pole countdown is on.
I find inspiration and solace in literature. So I searched my scattered and voluminous book collection for A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. This is the core text for the Christmas spirit in the same way the New Testament is the core text for Christians. The central character is Scrooge – a man who goes on a great internal journey on Christmas Eve guided by three ghosts. He wakes up on Christmas Day a changed man and full of the spirit and joy of Christmas.
Who is Scrooge? Adam Sandler joked that he was ‘not Jewish’ and, indeed, Scrooge is not Jewish. Early in the story Scrooge is visited by his nephew who attempts to corral his uncle out of his dismal mood and to be merry and partake in the festivities. Not Chanukah parties mind you. Scrooge was a lonely man, and his profound journey on a culturally important day of the year warms all of our hearts because the story tells us that people can and do change. In fact, we so much believe in the power of change that Scrooge has 43,943 friends on Facebook. Last I checked, that is more than Freud or Jung; two men who dedicated their life to the power of change.
Last year’s Disney movie starring Jim Carrey was an excellent rendition of A Christmas Carol. It was in 3D, and had several stirring songs. But my favorite version is the Muppet’s A Christmas Carol. I have a link to the YouTube video below. In it, the character of Scrooge is sung in a song.
Yes, Scrooge is mean, stingy and covetous. But he is also kind, warm and generous. Scrooge’s appeal is not only that he can change but that he had all these marvelous characteristics in him the whole time.