Some lessons and reminders for Christians in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
PASTOR’S ANNUAL CHRISTMAS LETTER 2010
As we have approached our annual celebration of Christmas, I’ve been preaching a different kind of sermon series: following the themes and storyline of Charles Dickens’ 1843 classic, A Christmas Carol.
We see ourselves in Ebenezer Scrooge, for we are all sinners like him. In the book of Romans we read “There is none righteous, no, not one… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Rom.3:10,23)
In chapter one, we see Scrooge in his counting house with his miserly, mean, grumpy, “HUMBUG” attitude. Once home, he has a vision of his long dead partner, Jacob Marley, who had mastered the miserly, mean, grumpy, “HUMBUG” attitude long before Scrooge made an art of it. Marley, it seems, is there to warn Scrooge that the eternal punishment he’s getting for his sins, is also Scrooge’s fate unless he changes.
Scrooge gets to see Christmases long ago when the Ghost of Christmas Past comes to visit. The joy and love of Christmas rushes back to his mind and his heart. He also gets to see how little choices back then, one at a time, have set up his lot in life in the present. By the end of the second chapter, Scrooge begs the spirit to stop revealing these heartbreaking memories. His regret is overwhelming. He has learned repentance.
Chapter three is where he meets the Ghost of Christmas Present, who shows him how Christmas is celebrated by others. He sees them simply enjoying one another and thanking God for His blessings. Scrooge then realizes that even the most destitute who celebrate the birth of Christ are far richer and more blessed than he is. And, while seeing Christmas in the home of his underpaid clerk, his heart is broken by the plight of little, crippled Tiny Tim. Scrooge, who had just learned the cost in relationships of his past choices, has now opened up his heart to this precious needy child. He has learned to love.
The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come, in chapter four, silently points towards Scrooge’s own future. Scrooge learns that Tiny Tim has died because of the lack of money needed to provide the medical care. Scrooge realizes that his lack of compassion even to the one worker he has, has indeed been a major factor in the boy’s death. He is heartbroken. Then Scrooge eventually ends up in the cemetery looking in horror at his own headstone. Again he pleads that he might be given a chance to change things and make different decisions. He has learned of his need for a new start and the need to show compassion whenever you can.
The final chapter of this short little book shows Scrooge as one who has been forgiven and granted a chance to make different choices. He is literally a changed man. He starts Christmas by buying gifts to give and then going to church to worship the Christ of Christmas. He continues to live for many more years. Through his financial support, Tiny Tim does get the care he needs and he does NOT die. In fact, Dickens lets us know that Scrooge becomes like a second father to the boy.
What will it take for us to come to an awareness of our own sin, a desire for repentance, and the opening of our hearts even more in love for those around us? We all need to realize our sin, repent, and show compassion. He confessed his sin & was forgiven.
First John 1:9 reads: “If we confess our sins, [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins…”
This Christmas, I pray that each one reading these words will willingly reexamine our lives & hearts, so that we may be like the changed & forgiven Scrooge.
I also want to invite you and your family to join us on Christmas Eve as we, like the altered Scrooge, worship Christ together as we celebrate his birth.Pastor Dayton
Christmas Eve service starts at 7:00 on Dec. 24th… Come & Worship With Us!