Thursday, December 26, 2013

Is Dickens bigger than Jesus now?

We are frequently told we should remember the true meaning of Christmas. But the Nativity story, for all its charm, does not point much of a moral to modern readers. Fast forward to the crucifixion and, in many hands, you read of a human sacrifice to appease an angry god.

More and more, it seems to me, Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, with its message of redemption in this life, provides the morality of this season.

Dickens was a devout Christian himself and his faith was the grounding for his belief in social reform. Yet strip away the very pagan spirit world of the Carol and you have an extremely practical faith to live by.

Over to Marley's ghost:
"But you were always a good man of business, Jacob," faltered Scrooge, who now began to apply this to himself. 
"Business!" cried the ghost, wringing its hands again. "Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, benevolence, were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!"
So the true meaning of Christmas becomes a story about Christmas. That's not just modern: it's postmodern.


Anonymous said...

You talk of child abuse. One can say child abuse is committed by parents that "enable" their offspring to become "child stars".

The so-called "child actor curse" is often used to describe those that do not make it to age 30.

Simon Gipps-Kent was not the first to fall victim. He wasn't the last.

There must be a lesson in there somewhere.

Jonathan Calder said...

I think you meant to comment on this post.