A Christmas Carol: A Look at Three of the Most Well-Known Ghosts of Christmas

The all-time holiday favorite, A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens, was first published on December 19, 1843, and gained instant success and critical acclaim. It is a story about a bitter old miser named Ebenezer Scrooge who, after being visited by the ghost of his former business partner, and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come, is transformed into a gentler and more charitable man.

Ghosts figured prominently in the story. However, their main intentions weren’t to scare or haunt, but rather to guide and teach Scrooge about poverty, humility and social injustice.

The Ghost of Christmas Past

The ghost of Christmas Past takes Scrooge on a journey through the different stages of his life, showing him that he was once able to love and care for others. Scrooge is shown the Christmas Eve when, as a young man, his beloved fiancee Belle ended their relationship when she realized that he was beginning to care more about money then he did for her.

Scrooge realizes that even though he wasn’t the one to end the relationship with Belle, he didn’t fight for her, or change is a way of thinking so she would stay. The spirit then shows him how Belle married another man, finding true happiness.

After the vision, Scrooge pleads with the spirit to show him no more, to which the spirit replies:

“These are the shadows of things that have been. That they are what they are, do not blame me!”

As Scrooge gets older, in the vision, he is shown that he has increasingly lost his compassion for others and that his lust for money has made him much greedier.

The Ghost of Christmas Present

The ghost of Christmas present shows Scrooge people enjoying themselves, each other and the holiday, making him realize that Christmas Present symbolizes the happiness and joy found in togetherness. Everyone is poor, but as Scrooge remarks, “content to be so” and happy to have each other.

Scrooge is also stunned to see that his clerk, Bob Cratchit, has a son who is crippled. Scrooge hasn’t ever felt affection for anyone, let alone interest in their lives, but Tiny Tim’s gentle, and kind manner influences him. The spirit reminds Scrooge that Tiny Tim belongs to the “surplus population,” as Scrooge has called the poor and disabled, to which he immediately regrets not having taken an interest in such people in the past.

The present primarily represents what Scrooge can change if he chooses to change his ways and he is happy to hear the ghost tell him this.

The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

The ghost of Christmas yet to come represents a lonely death. It is this fear of dying without anyone caring that finally makes Scrooge see the error of his ways and forces him to decide to change the way he treats others before it’s too late for him.

Quite literally, the ghost of Christmas yet to come shows Scrooge how miserable his life will be if he continues living it as he has in the past, compared to how his life used to be when he had more compassion and love in his heart.

In the end, the ghosts that visit Scrooge leave a lasting impression on him, and he wakes up on Christmas morning full of joy and love. He spends the day with his nephew Fred’s family and anonymously sends a prize turkey to the Cratchit’s home for Christmas dinner.

The next day, Scrooge gives Bob Cratchit a raise and realizes the position of “a second father” to Tiny Tim. The whole experience has made Scrooge a changed man, and from that day forward treats everyone with kindness, generosity, and compassion, fully embracing the spirit of Christmas.

Aside from the intended moral, which is we need to cherish people, rather than material things, I think we can safely say there is something else we need to make a note of in regards to our paranormal interests.

Not all ghost mean us harm, some visit so they can teach us valuable lessons. So the next time you see a spirit, rather than just assuming they are there to harm or scare you, maybe you should ask how you can help them. However, in most cases, I’m sure you will wind up running away, screaming!

I want to wish a very, very heartfelt Merry Christmas to all of my friends.

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