PRA and A Christmas Carol
Most consider Charles Dicken's work, A Christmas Carol, to be his greatest. This story is an abbreviated version of PRA - Post Resurrection Amazement.
The things Ebenezer Scrooge saw and experienced
changed his demeanor and attitude.
Paul tells us in Acts 24:15 that everyone will experience the resurrection.
Can you imagine the overwhelming sense of amazement
when we are brought to life with the full awareness
that we were dead along with an immense consciousness
of our Savior's presence and His mercy?
Like hard hearted Ebenezer - even the worst of God's creatures
will face the transforming power of a new perspective.
Post resurrection amazement.
Charles Dickens’s famous novel about Ebenezer Scrooge changed the celebration of Christmas into what we think of as traditional today: an occasion to give to those less fortunate and to gather family and friends around laden dinner tables and Christmas trees filled with lights, decorations, and toys.
Written shortly after Dickens joined a Universalist church, A Christmas Carol became his most famous novel—and the one most representative of his Universalist's beliefs.
Born and baptized into the Anglican Church, Dickens turned to Universalism in his thirties. His letters, speeches, and novels all show that he hated dogma: “The Church’s hand is at its own throat because of the doctrinal wranglings of the various parties: Here, more Popery, there, more Methodism—many forms of consignment to eternal damnation, these things cannot last,” he once wrote to a correspondent.
Throughout his life, Dickens was allied with British Universalists, philosophically and socially. His oldest friend, John Forster, who later became his literary executor and first biographer, was a devoted member of the Hanover Square Unitarian congregation. Then, in 1842 Dickens traveled to America and chronicled his disillusionment with the country’s institutions, especially slavery, in his American Notes. Yet Dickens praised his visit to Boston, where he met Ralph Waldo Emerson and William Ellery Channing, the leading figure of American Unitarian Universalism. “His interest in Universalism was virtually the only enthusiasm he managed to bring back with him undamaged at the end of the trip,” writes Victorian scholar Robert Newsom.
On returning home, Dickens took a pew at the Little Portland Street chapel in London and became close friends with its minister, Edward Tagart. “Disgusted with our Established Church, and its Puseyisms, and daily outrages on common sense and humanity,” Dickens wrote in a letter, “I have carried into effect an old idea of mine, and joined the Universalists, who would do something for human improvement, if they could; and who practice Charity and Toleration.”
Dickens himself worked tirelessly for a wide range of charitable causes, raising funds for soup kitchens, emigration schemes, housing associations, prison reform, hospitals, adult education, and disabled artists. He also believed that through his fiction he could promote moral solutions to social ills and could change society for the better.
With Scrooge’s transformative change of heart, Dickens illustrates that his readers, too, can be converted from a harsh, complacent, selfish worldview to one of love, hope, and charity and, like Scrooge, can again become part of the human community. For Dickens, that was the true meaning of Christmas.
Taken From Ebenezer Scrooge’s conversion by Michael Timko
(The term Unitarian and the term Universalism were often times considered synonymous during the 19th century)
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