The Christmas Story

by Charles Dickens

(Excerpted from Dicken's "The Life of Our Lord," written for his children.)

He was born, a long long time ago - nearly Two Thousand years ago - at a place called Bethlehem. His father and mother lived in a city called Nazareth, but they were forced, by business to travel to Bethlehem. His father's name was Joseph, and his mother's name was Mary.

And the town being very full of people, also brought there by business, there was no room for Joseph and Mary in the Inn or any house; so they went into a Stable to lodge, and in this stable Jesus Christ was born. There was no cradle or anything of that kind there, so Mary laid her pretty little boy in what is called the Manger, which is the place the horses eat out of. And there he fell asleep.

While he was asleep, some Shepherds who were watching Sheep in the Fields, saw an Angel from God, all light and beautiful, come moving over the grass towards Them. At first they were afraid and fell down and hid their faces. But it said ``There is a child born to-day in the city of Bethlehem near here, who will grow up to be so good that God will love him as his own son; and he will teach men to love one another, and not to quarrel and hurt one another; and his name will be Jesus Christ; and people will put that name in their prayers, because they will know God loves it, and will know that they should love it too.'' And then the Angel told the Shepherds to go to that Stable, and look at that little child in the Manger. Which they did; and they kneeled down by it in its sleep, and said ``God bless this child!''

Now the great place of all that country was Jerusalem - just as London is the great place in England - and at Jerusalem the King lived, whose name was King Herod. Some wise men came one day, from a country a long way off in the East, and said to the King `` We have seen a Star in the Sky, which teaches us to know that a child is born in Bethlehem who will live to be a man whom all people will love.'' When King Herod heard this, he was jealous, for he was a wicked man. But he pretended not to be, and said to the wise men, ``Whereabouts is this child?'' And the wise men said ``We don't know. But we think the Star will shew us; for the Star has been moving on before us, all the way here, and is now standing still in the sky.'' Then Herod asked them to see if the Star would shew them where the child lived, and ordered them, if they found the child, to come back to him. So they went out, and the Star went on, over their heads a little way before them, until it stopped over the house where the child was. This was very wonderful, but God ordered it to be so.

When the Star stopped, the wise men went in, and saw the child with Mary his Mother. They loved him very much, and gave him some presents. Then they went away. But they did not go back to King Herod; for they thought he was jealous, though he had not said so. So they went away, by night, back into their own country. And an Angel came, and told Joseph and Mary to take the child into a Country called Egypt, or Herod would kill him. So they escaped too, in the night - the father, the mother, and the child - and arrived there, safely.

But when this cruel Herod found that the wise men did not come back to him, and that he could not, therefore, find out where this child, Jesus Christ, lived, he called his soldiers and captains to him, and told them to go and Kill all the children in his dominions that were not more than two years old. The wicked men did so. The mothers of the children ran up and down the streets with them in their arms trying to save them, and hide them in caves and cellars, but it was of no use. The soldiers with their swords killed all the children they could find. This dreadful murder was called the Murder of the Innocents. Because the little children were so innocent.

King Herod hoped that Jesus Christ was one of them. But He was not, as you know, for He had escaped safely into Egypt. And he lived there, with his father and mother, until Bad King Herod died.

MENU:
Introduction
Marley's Ghost
The First of the Three Spirits
The Second of the Three Spirits
The Last of the Spirits
The End of It
A Christmas Dinner
A Christmas Present
1939 Radio Broadcast
Other Radio Broadcasts

Related Links:

Extra items and pages that are part of this site:

Christmas Essays by Dickens

"Now, the tree is decorated with bright merriment, and song, and dance, and cheerfulness. And they are welcome. Innocent and welcome be they ever held, beneath the branches of the Christmas Tree, which cast no gloomy shadow!"
-Charles Dickens

So writes Charles Dickens concerning a tradition that even in his day was precious. Enjoy his story, "The Christmas Tree," as he recollects the joy it brought to his youth!

"Who can be insensible to the outpourings of good feeling, and the honest interchange of affectionate attachment, which abound at this season of the year? A Christmas family-party! We know nothing in nature more delightful! There seems a magic in the very name of Christmas."
-Charles Dickens

The family seated around the Christmas dinner table is a treasured time that becomes forever etched in our hearts. Enjoy Dicken's story, "A Christmas Dinner," as he relates the joys it brings.

"Lost friend, lost child, lost parent, sister, brother, husband, wife, we will not so discard you! You shall hold your cherished places in our Christmas hearts, and by our Christmas fires; and in the season of immortal hope, and on the birthday of immortal mercy, we will shut out Nothing!"
-Charles Dickens

In his short story, "What Christmas Is As We Grow Older," Dickens encourages us to not forget the past joys and loves we have known, in order to shut out the pain of loss. Rather, we defeat the loss by celebrating the memories of times and people once close to us.


"My dear children, I am very anxious that you should know something about the History of Jesus Christ. For everybody ought to know about Him." -Charles Dickens

Dickens never forgot the Source of the holiday cheer he spread about with his writings, or the meaning of the silent night in Bethlehem so long ago. In this excerpt from his private story written for his children, "The Life of Our Lord," Dickens explains simply in his own words "The Christmas Story."

Radio and Film Versions


Information about the
1951 version with Alastair Sim, with photos, comparisons to the novel and excerpts from the soundtrack.


Information about the
1939 radio version produced by Orson Welles and starring Lionel Barrymore.


Information about the
BBC radio version starring Michael Gough.Also the 1975 CBS Radio Mystery Theater version starring E.G. Marshall!


Information about
Disney's "A Christmas Carol" short animated feature


Information about "Scrooge," the
1970 musical version starring Albert Finney


Information about the
Muppet's Christmas Carol


Information about the
Disney's CG version starring Jim Carrey.


Information about Rich Little's one-man version of
"A Christmas Carol."

New!

Information about the
1971 Chuck Jones animated film featuring Alastair Sim as the voice of Scrooge!

New!

Information about Patrick Stewart's one-man performance of the book, as well as his 1999 movie adaptation.

Artwork


Complete scan of "A Christmas Carol"
comic book adaptation from the 70's by Marvel Comics!


Enjoy scenes from the story in these
antique illustrations!


Classics Illustrated "A Christmas Carol"
cover #1.


Classics Illustrated "A Christmas Carol"
cover #2.


Pendulum's Illustrated Stories "A Christmas Carol"
cover.


A Dean Morrissey
painting of Scrooge outside his London business. The print can be bought here.


Montage of
scenes from the novel by artist Jeffrey Bedrick made for a puzzle, which can be bought here.

NEW!

See Scrooge in various ads for merchandise that make him happy!

Other resources outside of this site:

Read the story behind of the writing of this most-loved Christmas story here, as originally published in Reader's Digest.

Christmas According to Dickens: A series of articles by Rev. Dr. Mark D. Roberts.

Dickens and Christmas: an excellent site!

View an incredible table-top reproduction of Dicken's London on this page.

In an essay on his favorite Christmas videos, columnist C. W. Oberleitner examines the best adaptations of "A Christmas Carol" on film.

Introduction /Marley's Ghost / The First of the Three Spirits / The Second of the Three Spirits
The Last of the Spirits / The End of It / A Christmas Dinner /A Christmas Present /1939 Radio Broadcast