Originally posted to Reel World Theology.
There is probably no more well-known Christmas story than Charles Dickens’ 1843 novella, A Christmas Carol. It’s a tale that it seems everyone has heard, and that everyone knows – its ubiquitous nature sometimes diluting the message of this “ghost story of Christmas.”
The story of Ebenezer Scrooge, while simply told, is fraught with symbolism. A large theme of the story is the true nature of charity, and giving from the heart.
The most compelling theme, however, is that it’s never too late to change one’s ways. In fact, it may be the reason this story is so synonymous with Christmas. The birth of Jesus Christ spelled the beginning of man’s reconciliation with God. It’s the entire point of Christmas itself, or at least it’s supposed to be.
Given that the story is so universally understood, it seems that A Christmas Carol is a story that is ripe for film adaptation. Its imagery is imaginative. The story is compelling and, though it may start out grim, ends happily and engenders hope. Many renditions of this story have been made, going back to the early days of film itself.
I never get tired of viewing different interpretations of A Christmas Carol. It’s interesting to see how different storytellers approach the material. Some are better than others. Some present the themes better than others. Here are my four favorite incarnations.