Practical Unmachining for the Christmas Season
Such a perfect story, and don’t be misled by modern secular film versions. I’ll let Prof Esolen get to the point:
“Dickens for his part was centrally concerned, in A Christmas Carol, with the gospels, as he was throughout his novels. “And he took a little child and set him in their midst”—that is the verse Peter Cratchit is reading to his smaller siblings when Scrooge sees them in the prospective future, while Tiny Tim’s crutches and brace are preserved lovingly in one corner of the poor room. “Unless ye become as little children,” said Jesus, “ye shall not enter the kingdom of God.” That is what happens to Scrooge, who awakes from his adventures and does not know what day it is. “I don’t know anything at all,” says he. “I am quite a baby!””
I have been wanting for so long to introduce my family and friends to a reading of A Christmas Carol but have lacked the courage and organization to do it! Thank you so much for your practical help and encouragement to introduce this. The Dietz family and co. will be hearing from me quite soon.
I suppose it's not purely "unmachined" but our family watches the Muppet Christmas Carol every year....which I in all seriousness consider the best film adaptation. Faithful to the book and to the original message of the book (though for pity's sake, see if you can get your hands on the one with the musical number"when love is gone" or the central message of the movie is lost).
Our other tradition is to hold a tamalada, or a tamale making party. We're of German descent, not Hispanic, but we live in a Hispanic area and this has become absolutely embedded in our Christmas Eve. It takes all day, then we enjoy eating them together.
What a lovely piece! We have six children, ages 3-13, and I very intentionally pare down our Christmas traditions to keep my own sanity. Even so, reading aloud “A Christmas Carol” together is a tradition we always make time for every year. I love it so much. [And I love your Dickens collection! It’s fun to find a kindred spirit who loves his books like I do.]
I’m going to share this with our co-op! Great idea to read it together. And there is something about repeated readings. I’ve had books I read as a child seem totally different as an adult, simply because you pull out such different themes in different stages and maturity levels.
This is tremendous, Ruth and Peco! What a wonderful practical example -- and thank you for the introvert/ambivert/extrovert suggestions.
A part of the Dicken's quote, “We realise it best when we talk with an unliterary friend. He may be full of goodness and good sense but he inhabits a tiny world," is a perfect description of progressivism. In their hubristic dismissal of the past and glorification of the present, they confine themselves to the rapidly passing present. The future is unknown and, therefore, irrelevant.
As Hannah Arendt brilliantly presented, in The Life of the Mind: The Groundbreaking Investigation on How We Think, she repeatedly described the fact that the thinking man is constantly crushed between the past and the future in the minuscule present.
Every year in nearby Weston, Vermont, there is a public reading of "A Christmas Carol" at the Old Parish Church. The parts of Scrooge and the narrator are played by actors from the Weston Playhouse company, the other characters are read by members of the community and visitors, anyone who can be convinced to participate at a moment's notice. The Old Parish Church is a gorgeous venue, perfect, in fact, and the production is always well attended during the Christmas in Weston event, each year on the first Saturday in December.
Dibs on the ghost of Christmas present.
Thanks for sharing this article. I've read A Tale of Two Cities, Hard Times, and am familiar with a Christmas Carol. Dickens possessed an uncanny ability to tell a story, weave characters into intricate plots, and present beautiful truths to his readers.
Keep up the good work!
This was a lovely thing! I especially appreciated, and was tickled by, your reading suggestions for the introverts, ambiverts, and extroverts among us! You included us all! Thanks for all the wisdom here. A wonderful read.
I love your emphasis on the importance of repetition Ruth, I know fore well how important a strategy this is for my own learning. If we stopped to consider how repetition-infused our daily lives are (we see the same buildings people, animals, plants etc) and endeavoured to learn just one thing away about the different things we repeatedly see we would in time have an encyclopaedic knowledge of our localities.
Also, I have visited Rochester - the town in the UK most acquainted with Dickens. It is a wonderful place.
I am excited to start the Advent wreath tradition this year. As a fellow Orthodox Christian, I've been looking for a wreath to accommodate our 40-day advent, and decided to try the cradle-to-cross wreath from the Keeping Company. It looks great right now taking up some space on our kitchen table, surrounded by freshly picked greenery. I'll do one tea light candle for each day, except for six days where I'll use some tall green and red taper candles I found at a thrift store - for Entry of the Theotokos (Nov 21), St. Catherine (Nov 24 - my namesday), St Nicholas (Dec 6), St. Herman/St. Lucia (Dec 13), Sunday of the Forefathers (Dec 17), and Christmas.
Thank you for the tremendous thought and effort you put into articulating these ideas and giving your readers actionable steps. I’m grateful for all of your work!
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Being in the evergreen state, we end up with somewhat frequent power outages - and I'm shocked by my reliance on energy when that happens, every darn time. The power will be out and I'll still flip light switches habitually, or go to turn on the radio.
The Dickens connection is so apt. I'm also often reminded of the Lilliputians tying down Gulliver, when I ponder technology in our lives...
Haven’t read A Christmas Carol in ages. You have inspired me to rectify that! 🎄😊