Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Spirit

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By Diane Forrest,

Earlier this month a news reporter from Chicago made a statement on air that there was no Santa Claus.  Not only was she called a Scrooge by her co-anchor, but complaints came from all over the country.  A Scrooge is a term used for someone who is stingy, mean and has no Christmas Spirit.  Ebenezer Scrooge was the main character in the novel A Christmas Carol written in 1843 by Charles Dickens.

Actually the name Scrooge comes from a headstone discovered by Dickens.  The name that was listed was Ebenezer Scrooge, a meal man, which meant that he was a corn merchant.  Dickens misread the word meal, and thought it said mean, and thought how it must have "shriveled the man's soul to be labeled such a terrible thing for the rest of eternity."

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During the course of the story Ebenezer was visited by his former partner, Jacob Marley, who warned him about the visits he would get later in the night, and that it wasn't too late for him to change his mean spirited nature.  Ebenezer was then visited by three spirits, the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future.  He was able to view how his life had been when he was young, and his life was good and how happy he was until greed took over.  He then saw how the people in his life during the present time viewed him and his actions.  Finally he was able to see what his life would be like if he didn't change his ways.  He realized he didn’t want to spend the rest of his life alone and unloved.  He made the decision to change his ways and not only celebrate Christmas, but keep the Christmas spirit going all year long.

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This novel has been made into a movie, and has had many adaptations since then.  My favorite version is the 1951 version with Alistair Sim, however it has been made using cartoons, puppets, even female versions of Scrooge.  It has been performed on radio and movies and television and in live performances on stage.

The central theme of the movie is that no matter how selfish, greedy and mean you have been, there is always time to change and make things right again.  Today is A Christmas Carol Day.  As you celebrate the Christmas season I hope that you will be a Scrooge too...not the old greedy one, but the new changed one, who celebrates the Christmas Spirit all year long.

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