Now, after I finished Tolkien's The Silmarillion, I was at a complete loss as to what to read next. So I did the practical thing... I got on Facebook and asked everyone to pick a number between 1 and 4. Whichever number had the most votes would be the title I would read next. A Christmas Carol was number 4 and had the most votes.
I had never read A Christmas Carol until today. Granted I knew the story from various Christmas movies and quotes, as well as a fabulous Doctor Who Christmas special from 2010. But today was my first reading of it. Last year for one of the Classics Club discussion topics, we wrote about A Christmas Carol and I had admitted to being nervous to read it. I was nervous because before that point, I hadn't read any of Dickens' works and didn't know what to expect. But everyone had told me that I would love it and well... they were right!
While I am not a huge fan of short stories or novellas (I'm not even a fan of that word... it just sounds funny to me), Dickens' A Christmas Carol was the perfect, little Christmas story. It had so much imagination and detail and so many characters and descriptions that it was easy to get caught up in the story and to understand why so many have loved the story of Scrooge and Tiny Tim for decades. Because it was a short book, the story moved along quickly and kept my attention better. It also kept me interested in finding out what would happen with each new Christmas Spirit.
While Scrooge is a person that many people frown upon, I saw him as a lonely, old man who had nothing tying him to the holiday. That is until he traveled with the Spirits of Christmas Present and Future where he saw Tiny Tim, Bob Cratchit and his nephew and niece. And granted seeing his own grave shook him up quite a bit. But I think it was the images of family and love and sacrifice that really spoke to his heart. Those were the things that I think really woke him up (kind of like the Grinch... perhaps Scrooge's heart was two sizes too small). And in thinking about how Scrooge was a lonely, old man I began to think about how so often at the holidays, the elderly of our society are often forgotten about. We forget that there are those who have seen many more Christmases than we have and their families have either forgotten about them or gone before them in death. And they find themselves alone and grumpy because of it. Lonely and just wanting someone to share the holidays with. Granted, that probably wasn't what Dickens was writing about in the character of Scrooge. But that is part of what I saw in him. A man who was lonely, but found a new family.
I am amazed at Dickens and how he has such a way with words and pictures. I have now read two of his works (A Christmas Carol and Oliver Twist) and I am really learning to love him. He is climbing the tree of favorites and I'm sure will have a prominent place there soon. I am glad he wrote such a beloved Christmas story and that I had the chance to enjoy it this morning while sitting in my own little snow-globe at work.