Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Yule Talk 2: Reformation through ‘A Christmas Carol’

Rummaging through a book sale about a month ago, I came across a paperback copy of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I purchased it right away, thinking that it would come in handy for the coming Christmas season. I have just read it again, and put down the book with a reformed view of Christmas.

But, I am still, and will always be critical of its origins (plus some of the traditions that have become associated with it). People brand the celebration as religious yet a determined researcher can trace it back to the unreligious. Anyway, it is my conviction and I am sharing this entry not to persuade anyone to share my belief.

Despite being characterized as a potboiler*, it seems that the novella still possesses the force that moved many people during the time of its release and up to the present. The story of the central character (an unswerving killjoy who later changed his ways) proved to be memorable, especially as it was placed within the context of Christmas.

And although having been written during the Victorian era, some of the lines in the story still ring true today. Said Scrooge’s nephew about Christmas:

“…the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.”

Although it seems that Scrooge found his own reformation in seeing his future (a dull death, a dull grave), the good thing about it was that he actually found the heart to change from within him. It was the things of his past and of his present that comprised the ingredients of his reformation. He saw that he could step outside his self-centered realm, make others happy, and even share happiness with them.

That was exactly my own point of reformation. I may disprove of the way they anchor Christmas celebrations with the birth of an alleged savior, but the spirit of the celebration itself cannot be discounted. Those staunch killjoys (am I still included here?) can freely shed their shells and take part at least in giving a breather for those who find life stifling and tiring.

The Philippines is in toil the whole year round, and Christmas can be one of days of the year when it can make merriment. In realizing these things, I do not want to spoil the celebration, at least within my family circles.


(Quote taken from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, A Watermill Classic)

* potboiler – a literary composition of poor quality that was written quickly to make money (to boil the pot)

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