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By Laurel Pattenden

Have you started to watch Christmas movies yet?

There are so many genres within themed Christmas movies. Romance, hard times, mystery and maybe even a little faith. The Hallmark movie channel has won a lot of hearts over the years it has been around. Movies that don’t necessarily keep you guessing, but endings easy to live with.

We watch a lot of Christmas movies especially the old classics. These are the films we grew up viewing starting out on black and white TVs.

Sometimes Christmas doesn’t feel right until we have seen The Bishop’s Wife, Miracle on 34th Street, It’s a Wonderful Life, A White Christmas and A Christmas Carol. So many more great ones not mentioned here. We do have one “however” about the old classics: the film must be the original version or a very early version.

When I was quite young, I remember starting to watch A Christmas Carol on our black and white TV. I didn’t get past Jacob Marley’s ghost, wrapped in chains, visiting Ebenezer Scrooge. Marley’s bony hand pointing out - just pointing. That’s as far as I got for a few years.

Later the old film introduced me to suffering in the debtors prison, a very long work day, cruelty and of course Tiny Tim’s disability.

The concept of past, present and future and the woven consequences of them was made clear to the young me. Ebenezer, lacking a loving parent, sent away at such a young age tugged at my heart. Fan, his loving sister dies. The loneliness. His failure at his attempt to love Belle and find happiness set his course for life.

This very familiar movie has touched so many of us. Our hearts are pulled and stretched in so many ways. The scene of Christmas future with Tiny Tim’s grave and the family in grief brings tears. The servant ripping down the bed curtains at Ebenezer’s death bed that lacked any grief surrounding it. Such dramatically opposite scenes.

Ebenezer, as an old man, finally wakes up. Even though it took a hellish night of visions he does wake up. The pace of the movie quickens. He hires the young boy to buy the prize goose, donates to the debtors prison and asks for forgiveness from his nephew Fred.

Of course, the best part of the movie, for my young eyes, was when Ebenezer visits Bob Cratchit and his family on Christmas day. Tiny Tim, whose physical condition was concerning, would now thrive with Ebenezer’s help.

A perfect Christmas movie! So many Christmas movies show this change of heart. Watch for this moment in the movies. You will always see love there. Ebenezer didn’t change because he wanted to fit in. It wasn’t for remembering a long past tradition in his family. He didn’t change his monetary ways for a new tax credit or charitable donation. That night lit a spark of hope. Of love. That is what Christmas is. Belonging and living in hope and love.

I wrote this in defense of Ebenezer. Yes, we call him Scrooge. A character who will always be remembered as the misery, stingy, old man.

He has become a word in our modern dictionaries for his past behaviour. We sometimes label others by this name. Yet, his character was redeemed that Christmas Eve. The very same night we await for the Christ child’s hope and love. Every time we refer to Scrooge’s past, we deny the redemptive process of the story. We deny him of belonging and living in the same hope and love we seek.

So this Christmas Eve let’s be like Scrooge and be open to a spark of hope. Of love. Open to the Christ child. Let us also, just like Scrooge, give that spark of hope and love to others!  

Laurel is retired and likes to spend her time in her art studio.