Wednesday, 03 December 2014 11:41

The Real Answer for Ebeneezer Scrooge

Written by  Sam Whatley
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A popular story portrayed on stage and screen at Christmastime is Charles Dickens’ “The Christmas Carol.” Children delight in the colorful costumes and scariness of spirits flying around the room. The chain-laden ghost of Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present, and Yet to Come succeed in scaring the daylights out of miserly Ebenezer Scrooge. Scrooge ends up being a super nice guy, furnishing the ghost story with a happy ending.

Adults can enjoy that too, but they can see it all on a deeper level. They can reflect on the poverty and injustice of, not just Victorian London, but places throughout the world and in all times. They can be encouraged to see an individual delivered from his “me-first” attitude to become a symbol of compassion and generosity. Some have viewed this story as a Christian analogy of supernatural transformation of the soul.


But there is the Humbug. Supernatural guidance is available to us, but not through the imagination of Charles Dickens.


In the Bible (Matthew 19:23-26) we read:



Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”


When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”



Dickens does not show us that Ebenezer Scrooge had a relationship with God. The old man repents of the price he and others have paid for his love of money, but we never see him repent before his Maker. We never see him recognize the price Jesus paid to set him free. That is what is missing from the narrative. And that is what makes the story, at its core, unrealistic.


Very seldom do we see dramatic improvement in the personality of people in their latter years. Occasionally it does happen; but when it does, look for the hand of God.


As Jesus said to Nicodemus in the Scriptures (John 3:3 and 3:16):



I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again….

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.



So, if “A Christmas Carol” is not a message of Christian redemption, why do we hear so much about it during the Christmas season? I think the answer is in the festive nature of something we have come to call “The Christmas Spirit.” Like the Victorians of the 19th century we now associate Christmas with good food, friends, family gatherings, music, and gifts. Unlike the Victorians, some go to church, but most consider that completely optional.


The idea of “The Christmas Spirit” can be traced back to the early 1840s. “A Christmas Carol” was published December 19, 1843 about the same time that the Christmas tree was introduced to England by Queen Victoria’s new husband Prince Albert of Germany. That same year the first Christmas cards were circulated. The old custom of singing Christmas carols was coming back into style. Tired of the remnants of stodgy Puritanism, the British wanted to have a good time.


And in America today people generally want to have a good time. That’s why you see so many Christmas parties. Watching early scenes of “The Christmas Carol,” many in the audience may be subconsciously thinking, “Old Scrooge just needs to lighten up and live a little. He’s missing out on the party.”


He’s missing out on much more than that. He is missing the joyful life Christ died to give him. Are you missing out on that,  too? Your situation may not resemble the old miser in most respects, but are you trapped by your own selfish ways? Pick up a Bible, get to a church and find the life God intended for you to have. Only then can we say with Tiny Tim, “God bless us, every one.”




Last modified on Tuesday, 05 December 2017 11:12
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