Best Christmas Movie Ever...?
I'm officially in the Christmas spirit.
I can say that as i finally made time to watch my favorite Christmas movie of all time. Though there are more than a dozen adaptations of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," my favorite is the 1970 musical rendition starring Albert Finney.
Not only does it produce the spookiest specter of Jacob Marley (played by Sir Alec Guiness), but it makes each of the characters more genuine and true-to-life than the others. One's heart goes out to Bob Cratchet and his family as they struggle to make ends meet while searching for a cure for Tiny Tim. It's easy to get the sense that Scrooge's nephew holds a sincere place in his heart for his miserly uncle. And you can feel the fear of each person indebted to Scrooge as he approaches them for payment.
But more than the characters, it's the intensity of the discourse that takes place between Ebenezer Scrooge and his former partner that I enjoy. Marley is explaining to Scrooge why he is wearing a massive chain around his body, and scrooge is obviously baffled that a man who was so wealth in life has succumbed to such a lowly stage in death.
"You were always a good man of business, Jacob," Scrooge says to Marley.
I've watched this movie every Christmas that I can remember. It used to come on every Christmas Eve night, and my brothers and i would watch it together, sing all the songs, and wait anxiously for the scene when Scrooge would wake up in Hell.
But for the first time in 40 years, I LISTENED to Marley's retort to Scrooge: "mankind should be our business Ebenezer!"
I think about all of the time that i spend at work. The amount of time I spend traveling, checking email, answering phone calls, attending meetings, and other various sundry activities that make up a work day...and compare it to the amount of time i spend on 'mankind.' The comparison is shameful.
I know nothing of Charles Dickens as person. I don't know anything about his theology, his views on God, eternity or the like...but i can think of no other movie line that embraces the message that Jesus shared while he was on the earth. Jesus warned that whatever we did to the "least of these" we did also to him. Jesus spent time touching people no one would touch, speaking to people no one acknowledged, and embracing the ones that others shunned. As the old hymn says, He is the "Dear Lord and Father of Mankind." We spend countless hours at work for our respective business...but how much time do we spend on His business?
Mankind should be OUR business..."