Well, with it being December and Christmas and all, I thought I’d share with you one of the universe’s all-time classics (at least since 1843: A Christmas Carol. This story has become so popular that you might be hard pressed to find a person who hasn’t heard of it. Ever wonder how we got the term ‘Don’t be such a Scrooge’ and how ‘humbug’ became so popular?
You guessed it.
A Christmas Carol, by our dear Charles Dickens.
This story is small in size and big on impact, recounting the tale of a miserable old miser by the name of Ebenezer Scrooge, who cannot see the joys of Christmas and will not open his heart to the world and people around him. Then he receives a visit from the ghost of his long-dead business partner, Jacob Marley, who warns him of the woes awaiting him after death and gives him a heads up about his opportunity for hope in the future.
Thus begins Scrooge’s journey, his heart shattered as old and painful memories are resurrected, the lives of good and suffering people outside of his melancholy existence are made known to him, and the mysteries and miseries of a dark future are revealed if his ways do not change.
This is a powerful story that teaches us to overcome ourselves, to see the joys in life beyond the hardships and troubles and disappointments, and to share that joy and compassion and impish good cheer with the people around us. There’s more to life than money (gain/success) — this is but one lesson Scrooge learns. Money doesn’t bring happiness, otherwise there would have been no need for the spirits of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet To Come to visit.
Money doesn’t bring happiness. Happiness and joy come from a far less material source, and once Scrooge realizes this he is reborn as an all-new person. This just goes to show that you’re never too old and never too far gone to change and turn a new leaf, try again. The journey may not (and usually will not) be easy or pleasant, but nothing worthwhile is every easy. True and lasting change comes from the depths of the heart where all the gunk we keep hidden there has dried up and stuck to the walls ─ it requires some serious scouring to clean it ─ but is it not worth it in the end?
Scrooge relived some very painful moments from his past, saw the struggling of good people in his present life, and knew the fear of a bleak future were he to remain on his path of destruction. When dawn came his eyes were opened and he received a second chance.
And by George he took it! The hope he now has makes him positively giddy. He now finds joy and happiness in giving to and serving others, not hoarding for himself. He finds love, and that it was always there waiting for him. The Spirit of Christmas has awakened in his soul, and nothing remains as it was
But Scrooge isn’t the only character in this story. We have his nephew, whose joy in life is untainted by his uncle’s grouchy attitude. His love and faith in Scrooge is admirable. Then there’s Bob Cratchet and his family, poor and content to be so, for they have each other. Despite his less than stellar treatment, Bob Cratchet remains grateful to Scrooge for the job he holds and the provision it provides for his family. These men go to show that, no matter how wretched we might be, no matter how many others despise or couldn’t care less about us, there is always someone who wishes us well.
This is a story about hope, which is an absolutely perfect theme for Christmas, the holiday we celebrate hope coming into the world through Jesus Christ.
May you all find hope and joy this Christmas!