Love Life like Ebenezer Scrooge

In my previous post I revealed that my favorite movie version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is the 1970 musical with Albert Finney called Scrooge. Adding music ideally serves to convey the love, joy, gratitude and other transcendent qualities of this classic story. I mentioned that two songs in particular stand out. The first is called “Begin Again” and it occurs at the most climatic scene when Scrooge ends his time with the third ghost and begins his transformation. The second is called “I Like Life” and it takes place when he meets the Ghost of Christmas Present. The sheer joy that’s expressed in the latter song is the topic of this article.

“I Like Life” Lyrics

Here are the lyrics to “I Like Life” which the Ghost of Christmas Present teaches to the dour Scrooge while allowing Scrooge to drink from the Milk of Human Kindness:

I like life, life likes me
Life and I fairly fully agree
Life is fine, Life is good
‘Specially mine, which is just as it should be
I like pouring the wine and why not?
Life’s a pleasure that I deny not

I like life, here and now
Life and I made a mutual vow
‘Till I die, life and I
We’ll both try to be better somehow
And if life were a woman
She would be my wife
Why? Because I like life!

I like life, life likes me
I make life a perpetual spree
Eating food, drinking wine
Thinking who’d like the privilege to dine me
I like drinking the drink I’m drinking
I like thinking the thoughts I’m thinking

I like songs, I like dance
I hear music and I’m in a trance
Tra-la-la, Oom-pah-pah
Chances are we shall get up and prance
Where there’s music and laughter happiness is rife
Why? Because I like life!

The Ghost of Christmas Present is Joy!

The movie captures Dickens’ description of the Ghost of Christmas Present. Dickens in part describes the Ghost of Christmas Present, “In easy state there sat a jolly Giant, glorious to see…it’s dark brown curls were long and free; free as its genial face, its sparkling eye, its open hand, its cheery voice, its unconstrained demeanor, and its joyful air.”

Coupled with the rest of the description and his actions, Dickens portrays this Spirit as joy personified! In the movie the above song is deeply bellowed by the Spirit, and eventually by Scrooge, with a full expression of joy. In the book the transformative power of joy is portrayed in the actions of the Spirit when “once or twice when there were angry words between some dinner carriers who had jostled each other, he shed a few drops of water on them from it (his torch), and their good-humor was restored directly.”

Additionally this transformative quality of joy is shown at the end of Scrooge’s visit with the Ghost as Dickens writes, “Much they saw, and far they went, and many homes they visited, but always with a happy end. The Spirit stood beside sick-beds, and they were cheerful; on foreign lands, and they were close at home; by struggling men, and they were patient in their great hope; by poverty and it was rich.”

Got Joy?

How do you drink of this joy? Alas you’re not instantly transformed just by watching Scrooge or reading A Christmas Carol. But you do make a giant leap forward when you realize that you are more than what you think you are. In addition to your body, emotions and mind you are a soul. You are a child of God. You are make in God’s image. You are divine. You are part of God’s Plan and therefore you are fully comforted and supported even if things are not going as you want.

Joy is always at hand and you can integrate it into your life as outlined by Leichtman and Japikse in their excellent essays “Joy (a/k/a Celebrating Life)” and “Enriching the Personality” by:

  1. Recognizing it. Notice the joy present in movies like Scrooge and A Beautiful Life, in songs like Beethoven’s Ode to Joy (duh) and in other people like a harried but loving new mother. But in particular notice your sense of joy such as when you bond with a spouse or child, gain a new insight, accomplish a goal or socialize with friends and family.
  2. Contemplating it. How is joy more than just happiness. How could you have better applied joy in past situations? How can you best apply it in the future in your work, relationships and personal growth?
  3. Applying it. Consciously work on being more joyful and cheerful even when you think your not suppose to such as at work or during difficult times.

You are the soul and a synonymous word is life. Reread the lyrics above and intuit about the words life and soul being the same (this works for at least part of the song). Your goal is to integrate your divine life (soul) with your human life (personality) so that “Life and I fairly fully agree”. With this connection you’ll make life a “perpetual spree”!

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