More Chesterton on Christmas Print
Written by Sherry   
Thursday, 18 December 2008 21:59
From the G. K. Chesterton: the Spirit of Christmas

If we study the very real atmosphere of rejoicing and of riotous charity in "The Christmas Carol" we shall find that all the three marks I have mentioned are unmistakably visible. The Christmas Carol is a happy story first, because it describes an abrupt and dramatic change; it is not only the story of a conversion, but of a sudden conversion; as as the conversion of a man at a Salvation Army meeting. Popular religious is quite right in insisting on the fact of a crisis in most things.

It is true that the man at the Salvation Army meeting would probably be converted from the punch bowl; whereas Scrooge was converted to it. That only means that Scrooge and Dickens represented a higher and more historic Christianity. But in both cases happiness is rightly valued because it follow dramatically upon unhappiness; happiness is valued because it is 'salvation' something saved from the wreck.

Again, "The Christmas Carol' owes much of its hilarity to our second source - the fact of its being a tale of winter and of a very wintry winter. The is much about comfort in the story; yet the comfort is never enervating: it is saving from that by a tingle of something bitter and bracing in the weather.

Lastly, the story exemplifies through throughout the power of the third principle - the kinship between gaiety and the grotesque. Everyone is happy because nobody is dignified. We have a feeling that somehow Scrooge looked even uglier when he was kind than he had looked when he was cruel. The turkey that Scrooge bought was so fat, says Dickens, that it could never have stood upright. That top-heavy and monstrous bird is a good symbol of the top-heavy happiness of the stories."