Summary: Not every Scrooge at Christmas is a classic Ebeneezer type Scrooge, this message looks at the different Scrooges who try to ruin Christmas
The Scrooges of Christmas
Bah, Humbug, Scrooge is like Bond, everyone has a favorite. For some there is no Scrooge like Alistair Sim, he was the actor who portrayed Scrooge in the clip we just saw. He also reprised the role in an Oscar winning short film in 1970. Maybe it is Albert Finney in the 1970 film simply entitled “Scrooge”. For others it might be George C. Scott from the remake done in 1984 or Henry Winkler in the 1979 “An American Christmas Carol”. My favorite was Michael Caine from the Muppets Christmas Carol.
And most of us have watched one of the over 20 movie adaptations or television specials of “A Christmas Carol”. How many have read the book? I have to admit that I haven’t.
The book, written by Charles Dickens was first released on December 19 1843, the Novella was met with critical success however the author was disappointed with it’s commercial success over the first couple of years it was in print, and yet it has never been out of print since that first edition. And the first movie was made in 1901 and a new version with Jim Carrey was released just a couple of years ago, and it’s interesting that Jim has had the opportunity to play both Scrooge and the Grinch.
In his book “A Christmas Carol” Richard Michael Kelly writes “Dickens’ Carol was one of the greatest influences in rejuvenating the old Christmas traditions of England, but, while it brings to the reader images of light, joy, warmth and life, it also brings strong and unforgettable images of darkness, despair, coldness, sadness and death.”
A couple of highlights for those who have never experienced the movie or the book. The story opens on a “cold, bleak, biting” Christmas Eve in 1843 exactly seven years after the death of Ebenezer Scrooge’s business partner, Jacob Marley. Ebenezer Scrooge is described as “a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner!” who has no place in his life for kindness, compassion, charity or benevolence. He hates Christmas, calling it “humbug”. It is on that night that Scrooge is visited by the Ghost of his dead partner who warns him to change his ways or end in misery as Marley had. Scrooge is then visited by three ghosts the Ghost of Christmas Past who reminds him of the man he used to be, of lost love and missed opportunity. The Ghost of Christmas Present then reveals the goodness of people to Scrooge as they celebrate Christmas. Even those with very little to celebrate, including his clerk Bob Cratchit whose sick son, Tiny Tim is unable to get treatment because of the poor pay that his father receives from Scrooge. And finally Scrooge is visited by Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. Here Scrooge witnesses the death of Tiny Tim and his own death where local business men say they will attend the funeral only if there is a luncheon. Of course you all know that Scrooge wakes up from his dreams a changed man, embraces Christmas and seeks to make the world a better place.
Each year as I watch different people’s reactions to the Christmas season it gets me thinking about Scrooges. And I decided that you didn’t have to look like this to be a Scrooge, (Alastair Sim) or like this (Jim Carey) or even like this (Scrooge McDuck). And the more I thought about it the more I realized that there are all kinds of Scrooges out there. As a matter of fact there are Scrooges who don’t even know they are Scrooges. And if you told them they were a Scrooge they would probably be personally offended.
So as I begin this message today may I categorically state that I’m not preaching to anyone here specifically, that the Scrooges I’m talking about are represented in society as a whole and in previous churches I have pastored but by no stretch of the imagination should they be seen as representative of anyone presently attending Cornerstone. So if you feel like perhaps, by some stretch of the imagination that I’m referring to you this morning, I’m not. You just a little bit sensitive, which of course is a nicer word then paranoid.
Today if you are a person who just doesn’t seem to truly get into the Christmas spirit there is a good chance that you would be called a Grinch, from Dr. Seuss’s book the Grinch who Stole Christmas. But long before there was a Grinch there was a Scrooge. So who are some of the Scrooges that we see each Christmas?
1) Classic Scrooge This is the Scrooge that Dickens was writing about. It wasn’t Christmas itself that the Scrooge was upset with it was anything that made life more enjoyable. Christmas seemed to be the culmination of all that was happy and joyful in London and it seemed to be personified in Bob Cratchit. And so The Classic Scrooge isn’t opposed to Christmas per se instead it is all that Christmas represents.