The Best Christmas Movie Ever

A Christmas Carol (1951) Movie Review

We watched this yesterday–Scrooge, the 1951 retelling of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, starring Alistair Sim. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen this. Dozens? At least forty, given that Patty and I watch it every Christmas. But it won’t matter if we see it forty times more: it has never failed to melt my heart, and never will.

Why? Because it’s about redemption! What could possibly be more important? And who doesn’t need it?

By the time we were halfway through the story yesterday, I was shaking my head: this was a man who had seriously made a hog’s ass of his life. He’d started out with real disadvantages–his mother died, his father never loved him–which he parleyed into enduring character flaws. If ever a man was bound for Hell, it was he.

And by the power of Jesus Christ, acting through Christmas… he’s saved.

Think about that. Saved! Think of the bad things that you’ve said and done in your life. Truly awful, isn’t it? Oh, what was I thinking!

But God’s sovereign grace, in Jesus Christ, has wiped them all away. They won’t count against us. They won’t even be mentioned.

That’s what this story is about. That’s why it never gets old.

If you haven’t seen it, or been a long time without it–well, it’s easy enough to find on line. Find an hour and a half to give to it. You’ll be abundantly repaid.

A Clip from ‘Scrooge’ (1951)

Patty and I got all misty-eyed, as we do every Christmas, watching the Alistair Sim classic, Scrooge (aka A Christmas Carol), this afternoon. What a pair of softies! I mean, what’s the big deal? It’s only redemption!

Here’s young Scrooge at Mr. Fezziwig’s Christmas party, with one of the classic folk dances of England and Scotland–“Sir Roger de Coverley.” Published back in 1695, this dance turns up in several 19th century novels.

Have any of you out there ever danced it?

Anyway, out of all the fine movie versions of A Christmas Carol, this one is our favorite. Hankie, please!

Tiny Tim’s Theme

This little melody is Tiny Tim’s theme in Scrooge, the 1951 Christmas classic starring Alistair Sim (which we watched yesterday). The toys in the shop window are all genuine antiques–although I think the big guffawing mechanical doll might have freaked me out when I was little. Anyhow, this tune has been part of our Christmas here for over 40 years, and I’d like to share it with you today.

A Christmas Memory

This, one of my very earliest memories, came rushing back to me this morning as I drove to the Woodbridge Mall.

I was a little tiny boy, cuddled up on the couch with my Uncle Bernie, in my Grammy’s living room, complete with Christmas tree, and with It Came Upon a Midnight Clear playing somewhere in the background, probably on the radio; and Bernie was reading to me from a book of Christmas stories. When he finished, he turned on the TV set and we watched A Christmas Carol–the old one, with Reginald Owen as Scrooge–on the tiny black-and-white screen. I was too young to understand the movie, although my uncle did help me to see it was a story about a bad man who changed, and became good. I do remember Scrooge in his nightshirt meeting the Ghost of Christmas Past.

And this memory brings tears to my eyes, because everything about it was just so good, so right: but my uncle and my Grammy, they’ve long since passed on and their house is a place I can’t go to anymore, long for it as I may. And to this day I love A Christmas Carol, and It Came Upon a Midnight Clear. I even remember some of the pictures in the book, of angels singing.

So much beauty, so much blessing. God knew what He was doing when he gave us Christmas.

(Video sung by St. Peter’s Choir)

‘Now They’re Sliming “A Christmas Carol”,’ (2015)

Image result for images of pollution and toxic waste

Incredibly, our culture has deteriorated even further since I posted this three years ago.

Did we ever actually need a “transgender” version of A Christmas Carol?

Where is this all going to stop?

Remember, Lord–these things are done without our consent, against our will, and over our objections.

Working Now…

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I’m finally ready to type up my review of Curtain by Agatha Christie, the story of Hercule Poirot’s last case. It might seem kind of an odd thing to publish in a magazine devoted to Christianity, but I think it’s pertinent.

Here’s what I find so interesting. Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol was written almost exactly 100 years before Curtain; and in the interval between the two, the Christian culture of Britain and the other Western countries changed so much as to be almost unrecognizable. In what way did it change, and how did it happen?

Sort of a challenge.

Well, here goes–

A Tale of Redemption

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?

Music for ‘A Christmas Carol’

I love Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, and this wonderful 1984 movie version of it, starring George C. Scott as Scrooge. And I really love this theme music, composed by Nick Bicat, And God Bless Us, Every One.

I guess there are those who think A Christmas Carol is old hat. Are you kidding me? This is a movie about repentance and redemption–and who in this fallen world doesn’t need repentance and redemption? Who is more to be pitied than someone who has no hope of redemption?

But that’s exactly what Our Lord Jesus Christ came into the world to do for us.

A Song and a Prayer

I know, I know–I’ve posted this song before. But it’s so beautiful. Its only connection to Christmas, really, is that it was part of the score in the 1951 movie version of “A Christmas Carol”–Scrooge, starring Alistair Sim. But in that the theme of that story, and that film, is redemption by the grace of God, that ties it in with Christmas.

So enjoy it. And meanwhile, a prayer.

Father in Heaven, make this Christmas season strong and mighty, to thaw frozen hearts and move us to love Our Lord Jesus Christ, our savior and our king. Give it power to shake and tear down the strongholds of this world, strongholds of pride and unbelief, arrogance and misbelief. Let the light of Christmas blaze forth, and blot out the lies and darkness of this age. O Father! Do as thou hast said. Make Christ’s enemies His footstool, and put the government upon His shoulder forever. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Now They’re Sliming ‘A Christmas Carol’

Water pollution is bad; but easier to control than spiritual pollution.

So the Perky Publicist has invited me to read a new book. I will not mention the title or the author. It is a book that takes Charles Dickens’ beloved classic, A Christmas Carol, and dunks it in “transgender” poison.

The author used to be a man. Each and every cell in his body is still male, with an XY chromosome, but now we’re supposed to accept him as “a woman” or else be branded haters and homophobes. The fact that he is not a woman is irrelevant. Facts always are, these days.

As Dickens wrote it, A Christmas Carol is a story of repentance and redemption. Scrooge learns to see his sins for what they are, he is heartily sorry for them, and the sovereign grace of God turns his life around, and saves it.

But in this happening-now book, “Christmas” is all about sin not being sin anymore. You don’t have to repent because it’s not a sin, after all, and Jesus Christ does not have to redeem you because the Bible was wrong all along about certain types of behavior being abhorrent to God. The book “breaks through boundaries of traditional Christmas stories by including a transgender character” and “encourages families to accept those members who may be ‘different.'”

It asks us to affirm sinners in their sin, denying that it’s sin and rejecting the authority of Scripture.

Christ went to an awful lot of trouble for nothing, didn’t He?

Let me tell you what scares me. It’s the thought that God will simply run out of patience with us, wash His hands of us, turn His back on us, and not intervene as we drown ourselves in our own filthiness. But God is not a man, that He should lie, and God will keep His promises. Somehow He will redeem and regenerate us.

In spite of transgender Christmas stories.