Published:  12:50 AM, 25 December 2017

Christmas in classical stories

Christmas in  classical  stories

Authors and poets through ages and centuries have illustrated different aspects of Merry Christmas in their stories, novels and verses. Most of the literary works on Christmas portray Santa Claus, children, snowfall and these artistic creations convey humanitarian messages too.

In American writer O. Henry's short story The Gift of the Magi, we find a married couple Jim and Della selling their most precious possessions to buy Christmas gifts for each other. Jim sold his pocket watch to buy a set of expensive combs so that Della could style her beautiful hair properly. On the other hand, Della got her hair cut off and sold it to buy a platinum fob chain for Jim's pocket watch. The Gift of the Magi is a moving story expressing the love Jim and Della held for one another in the middle of monetary constraints.

The Fir Tree by Danish writer Hans Christian Anderson is another mind-blowing fable which depicts a lonely fir tree that cherishes an immense desire to make friends during Christmas season. Hans Christian Anderson is the most resplendent litterateur of the world in my assessment for his profound compassion for children which is reflected through his tales about Christmas too. The fir tree in this story signifies the poor and isolated people who can neither buy new dresses nor can take delicious food to mark special occasions like Christmas.

Another story by Hans Christian Anderson titled The Little Match Girl reminds all readers to remain thankful to God for whatever they have during the festive times of Christmas because there are lots of ill-fated people living around them who are totally penniless and crushed by poverty. 

Harriet Beecher Stowe's book The First Christmas of New England narrates the observance of Christmas in America from a historic point of view. This story sketches in what ways Christmas was celebrated on American landscape during 17th century by immigrants from England and some other European countries. A theme of Diaspora and theological inclination makes this story very interesting to readers.

Washington Irving's story Old Christmas urges readers to light up the fire of hospitality in every home and to kindle the flame of charity in everyone's heart while celebrating Christmas Day. On the other hand, Louisa May Alcott's story Little Women describes the agonies of four sisters who were growing up during the American Civil War. In this story Louisa May Alcott focused on the worries and uncertainty with which people in America observed Christmas while the civil war was going on from 1861 to1865.

Leo Tolstoy, the best-known Russian author of all times, told a story of profound kindness and fraternity in his story Papa Panov's Special Christmas.  Some Christmas stories are based on dreams. Dreams have played substantial roles in the creation of great literary masterpieces, particularly in fiction. In A Christmas Carol, a novel by Charles Dickens, we find a miser called Ebenezer Scrooge who never wanted to spend money for the betterment of others.

He was such a mean-hearted fellow that even others' happiness caused annoyance to him. He used to get angry whenever someone asked him for money. He stored all his money just for himself. Kindness, love, humanity held no significance to him. He always thought people around him were conspiring to take away his money. His obsession for money as illustrated by Charles Dickens in the novel provokes laughter and resentment at the same time in the minds of readers.

As Christmas approached, some people from the same town in which he lived came to him for some monetary contributions to hold a grand Christmas party and to help the poor on account of Christmas. But Ebenezer Scrooge scolded them and almost pushed them out of his house.

That night while Ebenezer Scrooge was sleeping, he had three dreams that showed him the value of Christmas by taking him back to his childhood when he used to have a lot of fun during Christmas. Another dream showed him a poor family preparing to celebrate Christmas who cannot buy a big cake due to lack of money but still, their spirit and enthusiasm to observer Christmas in a fun-packed way impressed Ebenezer Scrooge.

The last dream took Ebenezer Scrooge to a graveyard where Scrooge was horrified to see his name on the tombstone of one grave. He also saw some people talking about him citing him as a greedy and narrow-hearted man. Scrooge instantly promised in his dream never to behave like a miser anymore and woke up in his bed realizing that he was actually having dreams in his sleep. However, he bought beautiful gifts and big cakes and sent those items to the poor families of his town. This is how dreams transformed Ebenezer Scrooge from a miserly guy into a benevolent and broad-hearted man in A Christmas Carol.

All writers and poets who upheld the beauty of Christmas for years after years have appealed human beings to show mercy, compassion and love to the downtrodden people who are deprived of socio-economic privileges.  The writer is a columnist for The Asian Age

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