The 1970 movie Scrooge

1970  Scrooge

One of my favorite stories is Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. It is the classic story that has been made into the most movies. I like it because it is a story about redemption that strums the strings of real life. It reminds me of my own selfish tendencies . . . and God’s never ending quest to capture my heart and save me from myself. I especially enjoy two musical versions of the story (they are not so frightening). The first is the 1970 “Scrooge” with Albert Finney, Alec Guinness, and Edith Evans. The second is the 2004 “A Christmas Carol: The Musical” with Kelsey Grammer, Jesse Martin, Jane Krakowski, and Jennifer Love Hewitt. Both of these feature some really nice songs that are hard to forget once you have heard them.

I am always amazed at how hard Scrooge’s heart is, how blind he is to his selfishness, and how unhappy he is living life his own way. He is unquestionably a prisoner of his own sinfulness. I am equally amazed at the efforts of the three Christmas messengers (understood to be sent by God) who come to plead with him in their unique ways to repent and be saved from his own self-made misery. What an amazing transformation occurs when Scrooge truly begins to live for others instead of himself. It is not explicit in the story, but a thoughtful reader will realize that God has given Scrooge a new heart and that is the reason for his change.

Cover image for 2004 Movie A Christmas Carol: The Musical

2004  A Christmas Carol: The Musical

The story avoids stating the theological truths needed for Scrooge to truly be converted. There is no mention of a clear Gospel message and our good works cannot save us. But in a storytelling way, Scrooge is convicted of his sin and repents pledging to use the rest of his life being an instrument of good. The story works like a fairy tale in that it shows us ourselves when we least expected it. I often think that the world would be a better place if each of us were forced to see ourselves as Scrooge does when he has to face his past, present, and future. More of us would humbly surrender our lives and hearts to God and live to please Him.

So each year at this time I watch these musicals not just to hear the songs, but to remember how much God has done in my life and how much more of my character still needs to be transformed by His grace. I encourage each of you, my reading friends, to spend some time this Christmas reflecting upon all that God has been doing to bring about His transforming work in your life. Perhaps reading the story or watching these movies can help you do that.

Merry Christmas! And God bless us . . . everyone!!

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Categories: Books & Movies

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