Posted by Cassia on December 16, 1997 at 18:14:32:
In response to Dickens and religion, written by Stolzi on December 16, 1997 at 10:43:42
] ] Is this where our own secular Christmas traditions get their credibility (they actually come from much much older pagan midwinter festivals)?
] Many people credit Dickens with being a part-inventor of secular Christmas, or at least one who popularized and cast a glow over customs which had long existed and helped keep them from dying away.
When interviewed near after the publication of A Christmas Carol, (I think it may have been in Cornhill Magazine, but don't hold me to it.) Dickens said part of the reason he wrote the story was that people were beginning not to celebrate Christ's Mass at all. It was becoming just another day on the calender in many parts of England. The story definately revived dying traditons but I'm not sure the charge of him secularising the holiday can be held.
] I don't remember that he once uses the words "Christ" or "Jesus" and I don't know why this is. However Tiny Tim says that people looking at him in church might like to remember Who made the lame walk... and there is also the line, "it is good sometimes to be children, and never better than at Christmas when its mighty Founder was a child himself" (quoted from memory).
] Dickens in his own life was something of a liberal. He wrote a "Life of Christ" for his own children which I believe was along humanistic or unitarian lines, though I haven't read it. A footnote in my edition of CC quotes from his "History of England" a line which makes St Dunstan out as a bit of a fraud. Dickens' thought on these matters was perhaps similar to Mark Twain's attitude, but less savagely cynical.
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