This is the season where we watch our favorite Christmas shows and this year, I’m pleased to be watching the various renditions of A Christmas Carol. I’m not sure if Charles Dickens ever anticipated some of the poetic license that has been used to spin his tale, but overall, I still find it an intriguing storyline. Of course, Dickens’ intention was to shed light on some of the cultural disparities of his day; the rich and the poor, the givers and the takers, the have’s and the have-not’s. As I have watched this show over the years though, I realize that the brilliance of it is that we are all Scrooge sometimes. Oh, we may not have his miserly ways and we may not be grumpy about Christmas, but chances are, some part of us stays walled up in a world we created in our own effort to shut everyone else out. As the story unfolds and the ghosts of Christmas help us determine the reasons behind Scrooge’s life view, we come to understand his losses and his heart that grew ever colder, becoming one tiny ember in the fireplace.
Perhaps we don’t have money to hide behind, or a nasty demeanor that snipes at the world. We may not have a big heavy door that we keep bolted shut so that no one can enter into our homes or our hearts. But, we do have some Scrooge in us, or at least many of us do. When we’ve suffered ill will at the hands of others either intentionally or not, we tend to erect walls to protect ourselves from letting those things happen again. When we’ve been abandoned by family or friends, we withdraw and wonder if there’s any sense at all in keeping any relationships going. We may even find it irritating to see so many people walking around with “Merry Christmas” on their lips when the world is in such a mess.
What will it take then? Do we need a visit from the ghost of Christmas past to change our attitudes and help us understand ourselves better? Do we need the ghost of Christmas present to show us what we’re missing in our relationships with friends and neighbors? Perhaps we need the ghost of Christmas future to remind us that we surely hope to go to heaven one day and we want to leave a legacy of love and joy behind. Or maybe, we simply need to remember that the One who created Christmas brought us all three of those things in the form of His Son. He gave us a tiny baby to remind us that He knows us exactly as we are, and that we are all fragile and often innocent. He gave us the hearts of wise men and shepherds who wanted something better for the world they lived in, right then and there. He even brought us a peek at the future, a chance to understand that through that baby Boy we could leave a legacy of love and live in His grace and mercy.
Yes, Christmas reminds us to wake the Scrooge up that might be living in us and transform him to go out into the world with his heart on his sleeve, ready to be kind and giving and loving to everyone he meets. Why? Because the Scrooge in us has been changed by the love of Christ and that light carries us through every season of the year. With Dickens and Scrooge and Tiny Tim, we say, “God bless us, every one!”