Why? Because I am invariably reminded that this past year, God gave me 12 months, or 52 weeks, or 365 days, or 8766 hours, or 525,960 minutes, or 31,557,600 seconds, all of which translates into untold numbers of opportunities to better myself. More to the point, He has given me these opportunities to make a difference in this world!
These things were already on my mind when I came across an article online titled “On This Day in History, Dec. 19, 1843, Charles Dickens Publishes ‘A Christmas Carol’: Timeless Tale of Human Redemption One of the World's Most Loved, Well-Known and Often Imitated Christmas Stories”.
The article, written by Kerry J. Byrne on and published on www.FoxNews.com, explored A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, calling it “the globally celebrated timeless tale of heartwarming human redemption crafted as a haunting holiday ghost story” that was first published in London on this day in history, Dec. 19, back in 1843.
Byrne’s assertion that “Except for the biblical narrative of the birth of Christ itself, ‘A Christmas Carol’ may be the world's most well-known and most frequently retold tale of the holiday” is spot on.
It turns out that Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol over just a few short weeks in order to ensure its publication before Christmas of 1843. “And yet, its message has stood the test of time," notes the Charles Dickens Museum of London.
According to the article, the story was recognized by critics on its publication as ‘a national benefit to every man and woman who reads it a personal kindness’; and it has been retold and adapted ever since. In the words of the National Endowment for the Arts, “Dickens’ novella about the original Christmas grinch has been a holiday staple for nearly two centuries.”
So much so that the numerous characters and catchphrases from the short book have stood the test of time. Indeed, “Scrooge” is now virtually synonym for a miser; and his terse signature retort, “Bah, humbug”, has become the standard byline to express grumpily mocking disdain. What is more, “Dickensian” is now used to describe situations of urban decay or the poor who live among it, such as is the case with Scrooge's browbeaten employee, Bob Cratchit.
Lastly, “God bless us, every one,” the gleeful refrain at the end of A Christmas Carol spoken by Cratchit's crippled son Tiny Tim, is an often-used toast that sums up almost any joyful occasion when other words fail.
Of course, in the time-honored story, the rich, miserly, and lonely Ebenezer Scrooge, who derives pleasure only in his money, bitterly laments the arrival of Christmas and the joy displayed by its celebrants, and detests the indigents who suffer on the streets of Industrial Revolution London. Yet, by the end of the book, he has been transformed as he is filled with good will toward man after a series of ghosts take him on a journey through his life of joyful past, detestable present, and ominous future.
Charles Dickens had a career that produced a long list of classics, such as David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities, and Great Expectations. And yet, A Christmas Carol has gone down as his most famous, as well as his most culturally impactful, story.
In 2020, Paulette Beete, writing for the National Endowment for the Arts, cited an incredible list of adaptions - more than 100 film versions, according to the International Movie Database, 20 television series that have featured A Christmas Carol or its characters; four operas, two ballets; and even a video game.
And yet, the great irony in all of this is that Dickens spent mere weeks writing this great classic. According to those who study such things, this appears to be a far less an amount of time than he spent on his other classics.
All of this brings me to my point. My strong suspicion is that Charles Dickens had been playing with this idea for quite some time, perhaps even putting it off. Until, that is, something snapped; and he realized that he just needed to start. And once he did, it probably turned out to be nowhere as difficult as he had made it all out to be in his mind.
Thus, he sat down and went to work. Then, no sooner had he done so than “Presto!”, he was done! And just look what came of it!
Given all this, I can only imagine what Charles Dickens’ 1843 response to John Lennon’s 1971 question would have been. Can’t you?
Lennon: “So, this is Christmas, and what have you done?”
Dickens: “Well, I decided to get off my duff and actually do what I had been planning to do for quite some time. So, I quickly wrote and published a relatively short novella titled A Christmas Carol. It took me barely a month; but at least I got busy and did it. Only time will tell if it was worth it all!”
Lennon: “Another year over, and a new one just begun.”
Dickens: “If I have figured it rightly, it’s not just another year, but another couple of centuries!”
And now for another theoretical conversation…
Author of this Blog Post: ““So, this is Christmas, and what have you done?”
Reader of this Blog Post: “Well, I decided to get off my duff and actually do what I had been planning to do for quite some time. So, I… __________ . It will only take me a short time to actually do this, but I'm willing to start right now!” (Fill in the blank.)
Be advised, the manner in which you fill in this blank may well have considerable consequences!
As the Apostle Paul puts it (in his New Testament Letter to the Colossians, chapter 4, verse 5): “Be wise in the way you act toward others out in the world; make the most of every opportunity.”
How you undertake the latter will greatly impact how you fulfill the former!
https://www.foxnews.com/lifestyle/this-day-history-dec-19-1843-charles-dickens-publishes-christmas-carol. The writer, Kerry J. Byrne, is a lifestyle reporter with Fox News Digital.
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