We all have our traditions at this time of year and one of mine is sometime in December to watch my favourite Christmas movie.
It is based on one of literature’s great books and the cast is studded with huge stars of stage and screen. It can only be ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’.
I am sure when Charles Dickens penned ‘A Christmas Carol’ in 1843 he never imagined that such greats as Kermit, Miss Piggy and Michael Caine would bring it to life so wonderfully 150 years later.
Being a vicar I do have a certain sympathy with Scrooge. By the end of a considerable number of renditions of ‘While Shepherds watched…’ even I am singing different words to the tune and ‘Ba Humbug!’ is not far from my lips.
The story is, of course, a social comment on Dickens’ day. The poor are crushed under a burden of debt. Even Bob Cratchit, employed as Scrooge’s clerk, works long hours but can’t make ends meet and the inequality between the two is an ever widening gulf.
It is all rather depressingly modern and it’s a sad reflection on our day that Dickens would be able to write something very similar this Christmas.
Scrooge has a glimmer of conscience and through the haunting appearance of his dead partner Marley is eventually able to find redemption through saving Tiny Tim, Bob’s ailing young son.
Christmas, many say, is for the children. Yes and no. It is about stockings and sprouts, of course and all the other traditions that make it fun.
Yet the true heart of the season is the wonderful story of a young child, born in poverty in a war-torn, strife ridden world. That child grows to offer redemption and salvation for those who are willing to become less selfish and self-centred and more open to engage with the least fortunate in society. You may think ‘Ba Humbug’ but it is a story that still has the power to change lives for good.
May you have a blessed and peaceful Christmas.