Literary Reflection Essay
A Christmas Carol is a novel written in the 19th century by Charles Dickens. Though written long ago, it demonstrates aspects of the Christian faith that make it still relevant today. Dickens skillfully crafted a tale that helps us better value goodness, understand Truth, and recognize and appreciate beauty, making A Christmas Carol a story that will resonate with readers for more centuries to come.
The main character is Ebenezer Scrooge. At the beginning of the story he is revealed to be an old and grumpy man with not enough compassion in his heart to share a few coals with his employee to keep him from freezing as he worked. Even when his nephew stops by to invite him to Christmas dinner, he responds with “Bah! Humbug!” an expression he often used as retaliation to anything merry.
Scrooge is a miserable character indeed, but despite his unpleasantness, Dickens was still able to show the importance of goodness though the conversations of those he interacted with. For instance, two men came to Scrooge’s place of business seeking donations for the poor and destitute. When Scrooge replied that those in need could go to prison or union workhouses, one of the men responded, “Under the impression that they scarcely furnish Christian cheer of mind or body to the multitude” (Dickens 5). The gentlemen went on to explain that Christmas was a time when people were especially in need and “Abundance rejoices.” This exchange shows the value of goodness because even though Scrooge was greedy and heartless, there are others in the world who cared for the needy. The notion of Christian generosity is seen in these men. Their actions are in accordance with Deuteronomy 15:10-11 of The Holy Bible, which reads, “Give generously to the poor, not grudgingly, for the Lord your God will bless you in everything you do. There will always be some in the land who are poor. That is why I am commanding you to share freely with the poor and with other Israelites in need.” This exchange is a reminder that we should always remember the less fortunate and support those who seek to help them.
A Christmas Carol also highlights the Truth of the Christmas holiday, which is to honor and glorify the birth of Jesus Christ. This lesson was taught when Scrooge went on his journey with the Ghost of Christmas Present. They descended upon the house of Scrooge’s hard-working clerk, Bob Cratchit, where his family was preparing to have Christmas dinner. He entered the home with his youngest, Tiny Tim, who is small and disabled. When his mother asked how he behaved at church, Bob informed her, “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’’ (Dickens 34). This scene helps us better understand Truth, especially in our current world, because it points directly to the source of the Christmas holiday, and that is Jesus Christ himself. It is very easy to think Christmas is about consumerism, but the gift we should all remember is the gift of eternal life given to us by Jesus. Tiny Tim’s words also serve as a reminder of what Paul wrote in the Scriptures. “So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness” (The Holy Bible, 2 Corinthians 12:7-9). The empowering message is grace, which remains, even in our infirmities.
A Christmas Carol also helps us better recognize and appreciate beauty by highlighting the importance of family and emphasizing the value of spending time with them. In the beginning Scrooge’s nephew stopped by his office and invited him to Christmas dinner. Even though Scrooge was rude to him, the nephew noted that he extends the invitation year after year. His patience and persistence in showing love toward his uncle is admirable, even though he was constantly rejected, and is an example to all Christians of how to show kindness to others who may be unlikeable. In this way he showed that he truly followed the example of Christ, who persistently chasers after those He loves.
Another example of the beauty of valuing family is seen when the Ghost of Christmas Past takes Scrooge to revisit his childhood. He sees Fran, his younger sister, and the love and adoration she had for him. We are taught how to recognize beauty through the open affection she bestowed upon him, as well as in pain Scrooge felt by seeing her again and remembering that in the present she had already passed away. The sadness that overcomes him teaches us that we should value the people we have in our lives and not take them or the love they willingly share for granted because we will never know how long they will be here with us. When the Ghost of Christmas Past pointed out that she had a child before she passed away, Scrooge realized how wrong he had been to continuously turn down his nephew’s attempts to have a decent relationship with him. The conviction let him to go to his nephew’s dinner once his visits with the spirits were over.
Overall, A Christmas Carol is a story that both entertains and teaches. The Christian aspects cleverly placed throughout the tale teach readers various aspects of the Christian faith while also helping them to value goodness, understand Truth, and recognize and appreciate beauty all the more.
Bible Gateway passage: Deuteronomy 15:10-11 - New Living Translation. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Deut+15%3A10-11&version=NLT
Dickens, Charles. A Christmas Carol. Seawolf Press, 2018.
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