The Christmas season is one of traditions. Advent calendars, Christmas trees, egg nog, fruitcake, caroling, and good will toward men are just a few of the many traditions that have come to signify the entire experience of Christmas. While many may disagree about which traditions should or should not be celebrated (for instance, fruitcake does not even get an honorable mention during our Christmas festivities), we can all agree on the last one. No matter where I have lived or happened to be spending the Christmas holiday throughout my life, the days leading up to it are always characterized by a significant change in attitude and demeanor in the general population. As much as Christmas has been commercialized and secularized, there still remains a positive and unmistakable trend that we could classify as “good will toward men” as December 25 draws near.

One tradition that may help to reinforce “good will toward men” is the proliferation of Christmas oriented films and TV shows that can be found on nearly every television channel as the day approaches. While many simply emphasize the commercial aspects of the holiday—presents, flying reindeer, talking snowmen, and disgruntled elves—several stand out as excellent representatives of the true reason for the season, i.e., the Incarnation of Jesus Christ.

One of these traditional Christmas stories is A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens’ told and re-told, adapted and re-adapted account of the bitter and surly hater of everything Christmas, Ebenezer Scrooge. Although it could correctly be objected that Dickens had ulterior motives in his beloved narrative of the Christmas Eve conversion of one of literature’s most famous villains, the surface level of A Christmas Carol is plenty deep enough to warrant a closer look, without getting bogged down in Dickens’ personal views of capitalism and social welfare. Victorian-era England was still very much aware of how Christianity was at the bottom of its culture and traditions. In fact, Dickens himself writes in such a way that most modern Americans, ignorant as they are of the Scriptures, would blithely miss the overt biblical references found throughout the entire book.

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