I can never decide which version (and star) of A Christmas Carol is my favorite: George C Scott, Patrick Stewart, Albert Finney (mostly because of the song “Thank You Very Much,” although only disassociated with the fact that they’re thanking Scrooge for dying), or even, yes, The Muppets. One of the things I like about the Muppets is that Gonzo narrates it with quotes directly from the book. Anyway, I love them all and we watch at least one every year.
But today I want to share a blog by author and social media guru Kristen Lamb, talking about the meaning of the story, not just the acting and directing. Why does it speak to us so deeply? And can you separate the message from its Christian context? She ponders the power of names, the power of words, and more. So without further ado . . . heeeeeere’s Kristen:
Why Are Certain Stories Timeless? What Scrooge Can Teach Us About Great Writing
One of my all-time favorite movies for the holidays is The Muppets Christmas Carol. I believe I’ve seen this movie a few
hundred thousand times. I’ve worn out three VHS tapes and at least three DVDs. I play the movie over and over, mainly because, well, duh, MUPPETS! I drive my husband nuts playing this movie over and over…and over.
I’m worse than a three-year-old.
Muppets aside, I also can’t get enough of the music. I love the story of A Christmas Carol no matter how many times I see it, no matter how many renditions, and I am certainly not alone. Charles Dickens’ story of a redeemed miser is a staple for holiday celebrations around the world and across the generations.
This story is virtually synonymous with “Christmas,” but why is it such a powerful story? Why has it spoken so deeply to so many? Why is it a story that never grows old? Today, I want to talk about a couple of the elements that speak to me, because they rest at the heart of great writing.
A Little Background
A Christmas Carol is a beautiful story, but I find it’s true beauty when it’s explained in the Christian context that inspired it. My son was watching Bubble Guppies and they tried (dismally) to tell the same story inserting “holiday” so as not to offend anyone, I presume.
Yet, the story fell flat.
The PC had ruined the beauty of this tale and made it more of a lesson about embracing shallow commercialism once a year than a story of love’s power to redeem the irredeemable. Thus, this post will use scriptural and religious references to explain why I believe this story is so moving and timeless.
The Power of Names
Naming characters can be vital. Great writers use the power of parsimony. Each element should serve as many purposes as possible. A name is more than a name. It has the power to be a story within a story.
I recall the moment I was first introduced to what would become my favorite hymn, Come Thou Fount of Many Blessings. One verse stood out: