(Post by: Michelle Hobbs)
Y’all, I love and adore A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I love the book, and I love the movie adaptation starring Patrick Stewart. Every time I read the story or watch the movie, I glean a new spiritual lesson.
If you are not familiar with A Christmas Carol, let me give you a quick synopsis. Ebenezer Scrooge, the main character, is a “tight-fisted” businessman who thought Christmas day, and every day for that matter, was a “Humbug”, and he just wanted to be left alone. He had no use for his fellow man, other than to collect from them the interest he gained from the money he loaned them. He had a kind-hearted nephew and a humble clerk that attempted to soften Scrooge, but to no avail. Then, on Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by his dead business partner, Marley, who is fettered with the chains he forged himself through sins committed during his life.
Marley warns Scrooge, “man of the worldly mind”, that he had gotten his life wrong, and tells Scrooge that he is even worse. Marley explains to Scrooge that if a man’s spirit does not go forth in life caring for his fellow man, he will be condemned to do so after death. However, there is “incessant torture” in that, because in death, it is too late to live as you should have.
Marley then offers Scrooge some hope. Scrooge will be visited by three Spirits who can help him “shun the path” that Marley is forced to tread. Through the visits of the Spirits of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, Scrooge is able to see the hurts and decisions that hardened his heart and made him the callous man he is. He was able to see how a faithful man keeps Christmas and cares for those around him. Finally, Scrooge is able to see his dark future and is given a chance to turn from it.
Scrooge’s heart is changed!
He cries out, “I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach.” Scrooge immediately sets out to mend the relationships he has with his nephew and with his clerk. He gives generously to charity. He is friendly and kind to his neighbors. “He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good city knew.”
Friends, Christmas is the perfect time of year for us to reflect on our own lives. The Holy Spirit invites us to do so, just as the Spirits invited Scrooge to do. Have we allowed past hurts and decisions to harden our hearts and set us on a path that God did not intend?
Are we celebrating Christmas this year in a way that honors Christ’s first coming and anticipates His second coming versus merely indulging in a worldly version of Christmas? Do we have a secure future with Jesus?
Scripture tells us that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), and that the wage for that sin is death, but God offers us the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ (Romans 6:23).
You see, God loved us so much that He sent Jesus to die for us, even while we were yet sinners (Romans 5: 8). If you have faith in God’s love and accept His free gift of salvation, you can have eternal life with Him (Ephesians 2:8). If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9).
Do not shut out the lessons that can be learned from Ebenezer Scrooge. He did not just become a good friend, master, and man because he was scared by the Spirits. He did not change his ways, only for a little while, because he was afraid to be fettered by chains as Marley was.
Scrooge examined his life, his heart, against God’s standard and found himself lacking. He knew that he could not change on his own but called on the Spirit to strive within him. You and I have a wonderful opportunity to ask the Holy Spirit to live within us this Christmas day and every day, friend!
Will you join me and Ebenezer Scrooge in doing so?
LET THE EARTH NOW PRAISE THE LORD
Let The Earth Now Praise The Lord.
Who Hath Truly Kept His Word
And The Sinners Help And Friend
Now At Last To Us Doth Send.
Welcome, O My Saviour, Now!
Hail! My Portion, Lord, Art Thou.
Here, Too, In My Heart, I Pray,
Oh, Prepare Thyself A Way!
King Of Glory, Enter In;
Cleanse It From The Filth Of Sin,
As Thou Hast So Often Done;
It Belongs To Thee Alone.