I think that my favorite Christmas story is the one we find about Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
It’s 19th Century London, and Ebenezer Scrooge is a bitter, greedy, cranky old man who hates people and Christmas. He exploits everyone he knows, from his employee, Bob Cratchit, to his only living relative, his nephew Fred. On Christmas Eve, he is visited by the ghost of his former business partner, Jacob Marley, who, in his lifetime, was just as mean and miserly as Scrooge is now. Now damned, his appearance to Scrooge serves as a warning that he must change his ways or face the same fate in the afterlife.
Marley’s ghost offers Scrooge a chance at redemption, and warns him to expect a visit from the ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Future. In their visitations, he is shown how the painful events of his past formed his present, and the terrible end he faced in the future if he didn’t change. In the end, Scrooge gets the message and changes his ways, saving himself and those he loves.
I know that’s a very brief synopsis, but it shows why I love this story so much. It’s the story of redemption and second chances. And that makes it my story, and perhaps it’s yours.
If you’re feeling a bit like Scrooge this Christmas, I want to challenge you to do as he was forced to do:
- Reflect on your past and learn from it
- Allow what you learn to change your present
- Use that change to make your future better for yourself and those you love
And if you’re feeling you need some help to make this happen, I invite you to remember the reason we celebrate Christmas—the celebration of God’s Christmas gift to the world. God’s son, Jesus!
“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.” – John 3:16-18 (The Message)
Merry Christmas! And, if you’ll allow me to paraphrase Tiny Tim at the end of the story:
May God bless YOU! Everyone!
My commentary on this post as heard on KLZ560 in Denver: