23 December 2022

The Muppet Christmas Carol: It's never too late to turn our lives around

Sarah Olowofoyeku

Muppet Christmas Carol promotional photo, featuring muppets, including Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy and The Great Gonzo, dressed up in Victorian clothes and standing by a lampost in the snow
The Muppet Christmas Carol is available to watch now on Disney+

War Cry's Sarah Olowofoyeku reflects on a Christmas family favourite.

Christmas came early for Muppet fans. To mark the 30th anniversary of The Muppet Christmas Carol, they were gifted with an extended version of the film. Re-released in cinemas on 2 December, it is now available to watch on Disney+.

The musical comedy drama, in which all the main characters bar one are played by the Muppets, is an adaptation of the book by Charles Dickens. Its central character, stingy moneylender Ebenezer Scrooge, is played by Michael Caine, while Kermit the Frog stars as Bob Cratchit, his loyal employee.

Ronnie le Drew, best known for being the puppeteer behind the character of Zippy on the children’s programme Rainbow, worked on The Muppet Christmas Carol. His career with puppets began when, as a young boy, he visited a London puppet theatre and convinced his parents to allow him to work there. Thirty years later he was one of the puppeteers for the crowd scenes in the Muppets’ take on Dickens.

Ronnie is convinced he knows why the film still resonates with audiences today.

He tells the War Cry: ‘It’s a wonderful story of a man whose love is all for money and not caring about anyone, until the ghosts take him through his life and show him that he was happy when he was younger. He had ruined it by his love of money and business, and forgotten about the importance of human connection. By the end he is transformed into somebody who’s lovely. I think that resonates with everybody.’

A staged photo of Michael Cane, as Scrooge, with his hand on Kermit the Frog, as Bob Cratchit
Michael Cane as Scrooge and Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit | Disney+

Watching The Muppet Christmas Carol or any version of the story this festive season may give us an opportunity to take stock of how we have been living, as we see Scrooge get the gift of a chance to turn his life around before it’s too late. At this reflective time of year, an even more essential story offers a similar opportunity to think about our behaviour.

Told through Nativity plays, films and carols, it’s the story of Jesus’ birth. Angels announced the news of it to some shepherds, with one angel saying: ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people’ (Luke 2:10 New International Version).

It was good news because the baby Jesus was going to change the world. He would grow up to teach people to practise generosity and to love God and others instead of living selfishly. But he would then die on a cross, taking on the punishment for everyone’s wrongs, before being raised again by God, so that everyone could be offered the gift of eternal life.

The people who followed him would go on to revolutionise the world by living the way that he taught them to. But they would also know that they didn’t have to be perfect or earn their place in Heaven – they just needed to trust in what Jesus had done for them.

If we want to turn our lives around or be freed from the pressure of getting it right all the time, trusting in Jesus is the one thing we need to do. It’s the greatest gift of all.

Written by

Photo Sarah Olowofoyeku

Sarah Olowofoyeku

Assistant Editor, War Cry

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This year's Nativity comic strip from the Kids Alive! Christmas issue.

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