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Posts Tagged ‘A Christmas Carol’

Taking Christmas Seriously – LewRockwell LewRockwell.com

Posted by M. C. on December 16, 2021

God does work in mysterious ways and often through strange people. Taking Christmas seriously is the lesson of “A Christmas Carol.” Through Scrooge we see that it is never too late to love God and to show that love through our hearts by loving others.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2021/12/andrew-p-napolitano/taking-christmas-seriously/

By Andrew P. Napolitano

We all know that God works in mysterious ways.

Last weekend, two friends and I were deeply moved when we saw a theatrical production of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” This is the famous and popular tale of the transformation and redemption of Ebenezer Scrooge from a rasping, grasping old miser into a lovable, generous old man who, late in life, becomes determined to make amends for all his extreme selfishness and his public denunciations of charity.

After a tossing and turning in bed Christmas Eve night, during which he has dreams showing self-imposed loneliness in his youth, showing present suffering he could easily alleviate and showing future rejoicing and mockery at his death, he awakes on Christmas morning a new man.

He immediately parts with some of his wealth to the very people and institutions he formerly rejected; he makes amends with relatives he had ignored; and his heart swells with joy — a joy he had never known.

It was a joy his riches had never brought him.

In the production we saw, Scrooge gave numerous soliloquies in which he bared his soul, at first condemning the poor for being useless (“are there no prisons, are there no workhouses?”) and then embracing them.

This is, of course, fiction; yet it is based on the teachings of Jesus Christ that one can — with a firm purpose of amendment — turn to God and love Him at any time in one’s life, no matter one’s past.

In one of his final soliloquies, Scrooge questions whether he has the bravery to become a new man. Of course, he does. And the remainder of his life is changed for the good.

I have read “A Christmas Carol” a half-dozen times, and I have seen many theatrical and motion picture renditions of it. The last two times I saw this production I was moved deeply by the bravery comment. As Scrooge approaches the end of his old life with fear and trembling, he embraces his new life with generosity and joy. However, it is not easy, and he must summon much bravery.

While watching this theatrical transformation, it occurred to me that Our Lord and Savior demonstrated extraordinary bravery when he took on human form. Taking Christmas seriously means believing that Jesus was conceived in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary by an act of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Blessed Trinity.

Because Jesus is both the second person of the Blessed Trinity and was born of a woman, he is true God and true man. His nature — the hypostatic union of God and human flesh — is not only unique in all existence and in all time; it is inseparable.

Thus, through the miracle of transubstantiation, which Christ performs at every Mass through the instrumentality of a Catholic priest, He is physically present. Taking Christmas seriously means that the Holy Eucharist is not a representation of Jesus Christ; it IS Jesus Christ. It is His body, blood, soul and divinity.

All of this came about because God the Father — the first person of the Blessed Trinity — chose a young Jewish girl in Palestine to be the mother of His son 2,000 years ago, and the girl — the Blessed Virgin Mary — said yes.

Dickens does not get into the theology of Christ’s birth, but he emphasizes the value of charity to human happiness and eternal salvation.

See the rest here

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Putting the ‘Christ’ Back in Christmas | The American Spectator

Posted by M. C. on December 14, 2019

A little later, Scrooge’s poor clerk Bob Cratchit desperately praises his invalid son, Tiny Tim: “He told me, coming home, that he hoped the people saw him in the church, because he was a cripple, and it might be pleasant to them to remember, upon Christmas Day, who made lame beggars walk and blind men see.” But it is Tiny Tim himself, and Dickens, who speak for all during this wonderful holy season, clear enough for even Hollywood to hear, “God bless us, every one!”

https://spectator.org/putting-the-christ-back-in-christmas/

by

President Donald Trump added a radical twist to the annual National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony last Friday by invoking the divinity of Jesus Christ. You would think revering the season’s central figure would be expected, but you’d be wrong. Although his predecessor, Barack Obama, mentioned the Nativity in general terms as “the story of a child born far from home … who’d ultimately spread a message that has endured for more than 2,000 years,” the more direct Trump went right to the sacred heart of the matter.

“As the Bible tells us, when the wise men had come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary, his mother, and fell down and worshipped him. Christians give thanks that the Son of God came down to save humanity,” Trump said. In fulfilling his promise to renormalize the greeting “Merry Christmas” away from the deliberately vague “happy holidays,” Trump venerated the Yuletide’s raison d’être. Hollywood didn’t get the memo, though. That’s no surprise; the industry has long had a problem with religiosity.

Last week, ABC re-broadcast the perennial classic, A Charlie Brown Christmas, on its 54th network run. By now almost everybody has seen the Peanuts holiday special, along with its show-stopping climax. Right after Charlie Brown, depressed by the commerciality of his Christmas, cries, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?,” Linus calmly responds, “Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about.” He climbs onto the school stage, gets spotlighted, and proclaims the Gospel according to Luke, King James Version, verbatim on national television:

And there were, in the same country, shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them. The glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, “Fear not, for behold I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there were with the angel a multitude of Heavenly hosts praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace and goodwill toward men.”

This scene would be anathema to any contemporary Hollywood production, and it was controversial even in 1965. Rookie animation producer Lee Mendelson and director Bill Melendez actually argued against it, afraid it would kill their big break. They were already on thin ice for two revolutionary decisions on a kids’ show: the adult jazz score by little-known composer Vince Guaraldi, and having child non-actors voice the dialogue. A literal deus ex machina ending was suicidal, they thought. “There’s never been any animation that I know of from the Bible,” said Mendelson. “It’s kind of risky.” But the third man on the team disagreed and demanded they use it — Charles Schulz, the Peanuts creator. “If we’re going to do a Christmas special, we’ve really got to do it the right way and talk about what Christmas is all about,” said Schulz, a Sunday school teacher. “If we don’t do it, who will?”

When CBS executives saw the finished product, they balked. “You can’t read from the Bible on network television,” one of them declared. But they had an unbreakable commitment to the show’s sponsor, Coca-Cola, so the special aired on schedule, December 9, 1965. That night, A Charlie Brown Christmas drew 15 million viewers and a 45 percent share, coming in second for the week behind Bonanza. It has been an annual ratings winner every year since, and its overt Christian message has been welcomed the world over. I remember sitting in fifth grade at Little Flower Catholic School outside of Washington, D.C., the day after one showing, when old Sister Gabriel gushed about the Luke reading to my class. We kids accepted the Linus recitation as perfectly normal. Yet to the Hollywood powers that be, it remains an unfathomable enigma.

As late as 1977, the same CBS network ran one of the greatest films ever made, Ben Hur, minus its brilliant, beautiful pre-credits sequence — a depiction of the Nativity story. It starts with Joseph and Mary’s passage into Bethlehem, followed by a series of masterful painting-like shots. To a glorious score by Miklós Rózsa, we see a star-filled night sky, with one bright star traveling the screen left to right. It moves over Bethlehem, watched silently by villagers, by the three eastern kings on their camels, and then by shepherds in the field. The star flies past the city, stops, and shines a beam of light on a simple stable. More villagers stand, curious, outside the stable looking in, and they make room for the three kings bearing gifts. The royals kneel down in adoration before the inauspicious Joseph and Mary and her baby. One of the villagers steps back from the rest and blows a horn, signaling the occurrence of something momentous. Then the credits roll — which is where the CBS broadcast began. This must have been an easy decision for the network suits, deeming the sequence too time-wasting. Why should they have cared that the full title of the original book — the bestselling American novel of the 19th century — is Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ?

I just reread an even older novel, the most famous Christmas-themed fictional work of all time, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. The timeless tale of a bitter misanthrope’s Yuletide-prompted redemption avoids overt religiosity while stressing the unique goodness of Christmas. It has non-clerical charity workers and spirits rather than angels. Yet Christianity permeates the work. Early in it, the accursed Marley’s ghost moans, “Why did I walk through crowds of fellow beings with my eyes turned down, and never raise them to that Star which led the Wise Men to a poor abode?” A little later, Scrooge’s poor clerk Bob Cratchit desperately praises his invalid son, Tiny Tim: “He told me, coming home, that he hoped the people saw him in the church, because he was a cripple, and it might be pleasant to them to remember, upon Christmas Day, who made lame beggars walk and blind men see.” But it is Tiny Tim himself, and Dickens, who speak for all during this wonderful holy season, clear enough for even Hollywood to hear, “God bless us, every one!”

Be seeing you

 

 

 

 

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