There is a new Christmas movie headed to theaters this Christmas about Charles Dickens about his creation of A Christmas Carol and Christmas purists hate it.
The film has a stellar cast that features the dreamy-eyed Dan Stevens as Dickens and the legendary Christopher Plummer as Scrooge. Here is the trailer:
“This is a very presumptuous film,” said Christmas fan and would-be film critic, Arnold Yates, via MSN. “Charles Dickens was great but he certainly didn’t invent Christmas. Bah Humbug!”
That sentiment is growing online as the preview makes the rounds.
The movie purports to tell the story of the inspiration Dickens received in writing A Christmas Carol, a creation that supposedly saved his writing career. The bigger point seems to be the idea that because Dicken’s short story was so well received it also somehow saved Christmas in the process.
Indeed, history recounts the surge in popularity Christmas enjoyed from 1843 forward in secular culture, both in England and in the United States. From that point forward society grew in appreciation of everything from Santa Claus to Christmas trees.
But had that train already left the station when Dickens climbed aboard it?
Indeed, that is true as well. Some 20 years previous to A Christmas Carol the poem A Visit from St. Nicholas was published and was already running on a traditional schedule every holiday season. Though few governments around the world recognized Christmas as a legal holiday it was widely celebrated faithfully in Christian churches and had been for centuries.
We know enough of history for centuries before Dickens to know that while Christmas took a hit here and there it never suffered for want of attention. Many of the famous in history, from Christopher Columbus to George Washington and beyond famously celebrated Christmas and there is no denying it.
This is what has so many Christmas fans upset, their love for Dickens notwithstanding.
This movie, some contend, is just Hollywood’s way of promoting the secular Christmas and demeaning those who might have a spiritual tie to the season — people, indeed, like Dickens himself.
K. Klark Klaus is a former professor of theology and, as an academic, abhors the titles of "writer" and "reporter". As a New Yorker he was prominent on his essays on religion for many decades before retiring with his wife to Vermont, where he raises reindeer and writes, er, opines for Christmas Weekly.