Today’s topic is meant to be along the lines of comforting others, but I wanted to talk about Christmas traditions that we all have that partake in as comfort for ourselves. One thing I try to do every year is reread Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. Tonight is my night to do it – a very easy thing, since it is a novella and goes quickly. I love the story and it really gets me in the mood for Christmas, as does watching my favorite movie adaptation of it – the version with George C. Scott as Scrooge.
I like to read the tale for what it is. There are different interpretations out there such as it is a socialist tract or it is Dickens’s attempt to secularize Christmas. For another take, you can read a defense of Scrooge here. In any case, reading this book gives me the nice warm feeling I had in my childhood of reading under blankets on the couch in my ‘rents’ house before going to bed during the lead up to Christmas.
You can read about the very interesting origins of how Dickens came up with the name “Ebenezer Scrooge” here. One sad side effect of the fame of the character is that it pretty much killed the usage of Ebenezer as a first name in the US where the story became popular (although in Africa among Christians the name has some popularity). Of course, this was a time when lots of people here had more obscure Old Testament names, such as the people in my family named Barzillai that I mentioned last week. In any case, you can read about Ebenezer – the stone of help – here.