Christmas Magic Lived Through English Literature

Charles Dickens’s great story of Ebenezer Scrooge has been depicted in numerous cartoons and movies, but long before this significant story became a commercial success, it was enjoyed by English-speaking families around the world. We learned from Ebenezer Scrooge, a man who epitomized stinginess, that it is better to give than to receive, especially since he who gives reaps the benefits of giving, having made a difference in the lives of others. Dickens taught readers that the Christmas season was a festival of giving, sharing a meal, and showing kindness to those who are lonely and could use some help. This timeless story enriched the minds of young and old alike, as Dicken’s storytelling was a means of teaching society how to behave ethically, rather than selfishly.

The Christmas stories are profound teachers that allow readers and listeners to make informed decisions based on intense internal analysis. Also, it is through group reading that these great stories improve our English speaking skills. Sharing a story is one of the oldest human traditions, a means of intergenerational and multicultural connectivity that evokes all the senses. These great stories fill hearts with enchanted dreams.

The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future teach Scrooge the negative results of stinginess and greed. No doubt these concepts come up when a group of readers discuss the motivations for Scrooge’s greed. Did Scrooge become so greedy because of his beloved girlfriend whom he lost, or was it his fault that his girlfriend left him when he was young? Has such stinginess turned him into a bad man? Did the observation of another individual finally turn Scrooge into a caring individual, setting him on the right path? Readers might wonder if it was really necessary for Scrooge to have a terrifying visit from a ghost in order for him, stingy as he was, to change his ways. One might wonder if people should do good things for heavenly rewards. Was it ultimately Scrooge’s guilt over a young child’s illness that brought Ebenezer Scrooge to light? This thought-provoking debate has continued for decades and will hopefully cause readers to ponder these questions for decades to come.

The Gift of the Magi (1905), by the American author O Henry, describes the difficulties faced by young married couples in the early 20th century. The main character Della, a poor housewife, parsimony makes great sacrifices to save one dollar and eighty-seven cents to buy a meaningful Christmas present for her husband Jim. Likewise, Jim also goes to great lengths to provide Della with a suitable gift. The two equate Christmas with gift-giving and consumerism, but learn that Christmas means more than just a shopping holiday. Rather, your sacrifices made for the benefit of others count more than anything else. It is not only the sacrifice of Christ, but also the personal offerings that people make to those around them that makes Christmas an enchanted and magical holiday. The Gift of the Wizards is often read in American public schools, but this story deserves an in-depth discussion by adults and intellectuals of all ages. It ends with a surprising twist that pleases and disappoints readers depending on their own personal philosophies. The Gift of the Three Kings is not very long so it is a perfect read on Christmas Eve.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1957) by Dr. Seuss always pleases children during the Christmas season. It not only teaches about the feelings of love, but also helps readers develop a sense of rhyme and rhythm. The Grinch is a greedy creature who steals all the gifts from the inhabitants of Whoville. He discovers that material goods stolen from others do not represent happiness so he decides to return them. In an attempt to teach young readers that there is more to the holiday season than receiving gifts from others, Dr. Seuss used imaginative verse that rhymes. Readers of all ages will enjoy reading this story over and over again.

The famous poem titled The Night Before Christmas (1837), possibly written by Clement Clarke Moore, has done much to shape the modern view of Santa Claus. Santa is depicted as a magical person who delivers gifts to children on Christmas Eve. In this poem, Christmas focuses more on children than on adults. The father tells a story of how he catches a glimpse of Santa while his children are sleeping. The sound of the poem, which is shaped like a limerick, delights readers who enjoy the natural rhythm of the limerick.

In The Three Kings, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow portrays the plight of those who sought Jesus at the moment of his birth. The kings contemplate a star that represents the birth predicted in a prophecy. The new King would be greater than Herod himself. Such a child would be the son of God, a child born to save mankind. Longfellow paints a portrait of Mary, the mother of Christ who, though worried, has absolute faith in an angel’s promise. Such a vivid poem reminds readers and listeners of the true origins of Christmas that force us to believe in the child who also represents the possibilities, potentialities and capacities of childhood in general.

From the stories we share at Christmas are born the stories of our lives, many of which are put down on paper to be explored further. May Christmas become the stimulus for growth as a result of such a rich narrative tradition. After all, telling the Christmas story has been passed down to all of us by previous generations that are still our ancestors to be cherished.

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