We were watching A Christmas Carol the other day. It was not the real Christmas Carol though, or any of its 1,273 versions, because they are all too scary for three year olds. We were watching the
Mr. Magoo Christmas Carol. It’s much less scary, thank you very much Ghost of
In this version, Ebenezer Scrooge is played by a blind cartoon character from the 60s. This idea turns out a lot better than it sounds. Usually, Mr. Magoo cartoons are one long gag about being visually impaired. As someone who is visually impaired, I find this hilarious. There are not many other cartoon characters that I can relate to more than Mr. Magoo.
However, they let the sight gags, or lack-of-sight gags if you will, go for a bit, and stuck with Dickens. After it was over, I asked my daughter what she thought the moral of “A Christmas Carol” was.
“Don’t be afraid of your dreams,” she said.
Now that’s good advice. Scrooge has some weird dreams, he wakes up, and everything is better. It’s exactly the moral our three-year-old needed to hear.
Of course, “A Christmas Carol” has a more obvious moral. That moral can be summed up in the following sentence: Don’t be a jerk. Obviously, someone in Hollywood thinks a lot of us need to hear this moral, which is why they keep remaking this tale.
It does make a great jerk gift. You might, for example, give a version of the movie to people who you think are a little on the grumpy side, and hope that after they watch the film they will stop being grumpy and shower you with Christmas gifts. You could say it’s the Christmas present that gives back to the giver.
That Scrooge gets a pretty bad rap though. Nobody wants to be called a Scrooge. and if you are a Scrooge, I recommend you watch this movie and stop being one. But I don’t think most of us are Scrooges. I think most of us are Bob Crachits, trying to do the best we can with what we have and putting on a happy face about it anyway.
The story has a moral for us Bob Crachits too. Scrooge starts out a flat character, only defined by his hatred for others. But it becomes equally clear as the story progresses that there are a lot of reasons behind his grumpiness. He was abused as a child. The love of his life left him. And he became obsessed with professional promotion, and therefore himself. and he mistook that professional promotion for accomplishing something good. He always was a good person, but just did not know how to be one.
That’s the way a lot of us are too, which shows just how brilliant Dickens is. If we are grumpy, it’s not usually because we were born grumpy, but that the world has molded us that way over time. If we are a Scrooge, it might be because love has left us, and we have left our love.
So those Scrooges in our lives might need just as much care as those who are jolly. The hated might need more love than the loving. And the grumpy might find out they are grumpy if they have an understanding ear to listen to their story.
With a little love, even grumps might find the cause of their grumpiness and end up a little more joyful towards others. Love, of course, is what Christmas is all about. It’s the love of each other, and the love of God to us. And its love that changes our lives. Dreams can help too, just as long as they aren’t too scary.
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