So, once again we’ve watched Scrooge, the 1951 classic treatment of A Christmas Carol, starring Alistair Sim.
Aside from its being simply a wonderfully fine piece of art, what is it about this movie that makes us crave it every Christmas season? Why does it never fail to deeply move us?
Because it’s about getting something that every one of us desperately needs: Redemption.
Take Scrooge’s tour of his own past, in which he sees himself turn, slowly but irresistibly, into a cold-hearted monster of selfishness, ingratitude, and amorality. As someone who does like a stroll down memory lane, I have to admit that there are certain dark alleys that I have to hurry past. But who hasn’t got scenes he would rather not relive, would not even wish to see again? And Scrooge is put through the whole nine yards, all his sins revisited.
And that’s just setting him up for a grim peek at his future…
But the good news, the best news, is that Jesus Christ is born and has the power to redeem us from our sins, to wash us clean of them; and He has already paid the penalty for them. That is the whole point of the story.
Imagine: you’re an old man with boxcar-loads of money which you’ve never spent, and suddenly your eyes open and your heart revives and you can turn that money loose to do an endless amount of good–and turn yourself loose, too. You are redeemed! Christ rules, and your sins have no more power to drag you into your grave. Suddenly, amazingly, you’re free. Free to love, and be loved; free to give, and be given to; free to hope, and to give hope to others–and you will never, ever run out of love and benevolence. The more you give, the more you can give.
That’s why Scrooge is so all-fired happy as the movie ends. And the Lord who has given him that happiness, as the Spirit of Christmas Present says, lives and acts not only on Christmas Day, but in every day throughout the year.
If that doesn’t make you feel like dancing the polka, what will?