Advent Calendar Day 20: Bless Us All

Not even gonna front here: I tear up single time I watch this.  Every single time.

The Muppet Christmas Carol was the first major Muppet production after the passing of Jim Henson, and it’s a good epitaph for him, ranking among the best work the Muppets ever did.  Henson appeared to Steve Whitmire in a dream the night before Whitmire was to record Kermit’s songs, and told him he’d do fine, so there’s a Christmas Miracle for you.  Henson’s characteristic warmth, optimism and compassion are certainly showcased in this film as much as they were in the ones he made himself.  It’s got Michael Caine doing arguably his best work portraying Scrooge, whose creation was arguably Dickens’ best work.  It’s a startlingly faithful and affecting adaptation of what’s probably the best Christmas story since the original.  And it gets that Tiny Tim’s “God Bless Us, Every One!” is a fulcrum on which the whole thing swings.  Here’s the moment where the last walls around Ebenezer’s heart fall like the gates of Jericho.  It’s in this scene, not the final horror of his tombstone, that Scrooge’s salvation is assured.

I dare say this may be the finest plea for blessing in the English language, and someday the Archbishop of Canterbury will be swayed by my demands to incorporate it into the Book of Common Prayer.  This, not the Prayer of Jabez, is what should be on our lips and hearts every day.  This is a prayer for blessings far more valuable than the expansion of our borders; for love, for family, for virtue, for light, for reason, for peace and for grace.  For everything, indeed, that Scrooge (who had his territory enlarged a great deal without ever praying for it) sorely lacked.

I’ve heard a lot of sermons that failed to express such a clear understanding of what really matters.

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