Friday, December 23, 2011

A Christmas Carol

Has there ever been a story adapted for the screen (big or small) as Charles Dickens's classic A Christmas Carol?  A search on IMDB returned dozens of hits; I stopped counting after 40.  There are plenty of live action and musical versions, plus the Smurfs, Barbie, Flintstones, Mister Magoo, and the Muppets, and I'm sure many TV show episodes based on the story.

In this 1999 TNT version, surely one of the best adaptations made, Patrick Stewart's portrayal of Scrooge has to rival George C. Scott's from 1984.  I think Scott's Scrooge is the one I remember.  I haven't read Dickens's story in some time, but  this TNT version seems to have made an effort to capture Dickens's time and tone.  I would not be a bit surprised if much of the dialog was straight from the pages of Dickens.
That's the legendary Joel Grey as the Ghost of Christmas Past
A Christmas Carol, in whatever version, tells a wonderful story of second chances.  Although you will look fruitlessly for explicit references to salvation through Christ here, the message of the gospel is implicit throughout.  Even after a lifetime of hard-heartedness and self-centeredness, there is hope for renewal and reconciliation.  Scrooge's nephew personifies the openness of the gospel: even when Scrooge is at his worst, his nephew persists with unconditional love and acceptance.

This Christmas, let's remember the Scrooges among us.  Those neighbors, coworkers, and even family members who live bitter, lonesome lives need to see the love and grace offered through us by the one who came to seek and to save us.  It's never too late to accept Jesus' love, and it's never too soon to share it.

Merry Christmas!

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