Learning from Scrooge in a recession

‘A Christmas Carol Special Edition’ offers families biblical lessons as Disney releases a 3D movie on the subject starring Jim Carrey

If there’s a silver lining to a Christmas season in the worst economy in decades, this may be it. With less money to spend this year, perhaps consumers will finally get beyond the distractions of shopping, gifts and parties to finally focus on the deeper meanings of the season and reach out to those in need.

Author Stephen Skelton hopes so.

“Most Americans have been affected in some way by the nation’s economic woes, and for many people, that makes them more aware this year that there are people in need,” Skelton said. “Of course, unfortunately, maybe they are more aware of this because they themselves are among those facing significant financial challenges.”

Consequently he feels it’s a great time for a new generation to discover the classic story of the miser who is reborn at Christmas and discovers the great joy in giving to others.

That much-loved story of Ebenezer Scrooge gets a new treatment this year in “A Christmas Carol Special Edition,” a just-released annotated version of the story that includes the complete text of the book with Christian insights and discussion questions for groups and families provided by Skelton. Skelton explores the themes of regret, repentance and redemption in his study that offers opportunities for intergenerational and family discussion.

The story may also garner more attention this year because of the nationwide Nov. 6 release of Disney’s “A Christmas Carol,” a new, 3D animated film version of the story that will star Jim Carrey and be directed by Academy Award-winning director Robert Zemeckis (“The Polar Express”). Carrey will play Scrooge as well as the three spirits of Christmas that visit him. The movie is expected to bring a “multi-sensory thrill ride … in a groundbreaking 3D motion picture event,” according to a News release issued by Walt Disney Pictures.

Skelton’s previous work includes a DVD-based Christmas Carol Bible study as well as a series of DVD-based Bible studies based on iconic television programs.

“A Christmas Carol Special Edition” is available at local Christian bookstores, or online at StandardPub.com/ChristmasCarol.

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