The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone.
Thank you for joining as we celebrate, once again, our Lordâ€™s first coming to be God with us, and as we continue to await His return in glory.
On this Christmas I would like us to consider a bit of literature and one character. The literature: Charles Dickens A Christmas Carole, the character, Ebeneezer Scrooge.
A Christmas Carole has been made into a movie at least forty-six times. It has been further adapted, most recently as â€œSpiritedâ€ on Apple TV.
The book really should be read for all the nuance one misses in the movies and stage plays. Its many transformations cause us to not just a loss of nuance, but more importantly the transformation of characters, most especially Scrooge into various personas not at all in keeping with who he was intended to be.
Now my favorite rendition, and you can find it on YouTube, is the 1951 version staring Alister Sim as Scrooge. What you will notice about this Scrooge is that his attitude toward everything in filled with an integrity of character. Almost everything we need to know about who he is and his example for us is in the first minute of the movie.
Scrooge is walking through the halls of the London exchange. The narrator tells us that Marley had died, Scroogeâ€™s name was put on the Exchange, and he was successful in whatever he touched. He meets two men of business. We will see them later. They ask if he is leaving early to keep Christmas. He tells them point blank: â€œI am not in the habit of keeping Christmas.â€ They then ask why he is leaving early. He tells them that it is because Christmas keeps men from business. They respond that it is just the nature of things: â€œAnts toil, grasshoppers sings and play.â€
Letâ€™s unpack this. Scrooge is the steadfast one here. He knows who he is, and he lives it fully no matter what anyone thinks or says. We see this in his next encounters with the debtor, the children on the street singing, the men working for charity, and his nephew.
Scroogeâ€™s opposite are the men of businesses. They could care less about Christmas, it is just a thing, the way things are, so while they would rather be doing business, they go along. They do not believe enough in anything to stand for it. They are hypocrites. I mentioned we would get back to them. They appear several times, but last after Scrooge has died in the vision of the future. The one, when asked if he is going to the funeral, says â€˜only if he gets fed.â€™
People of God, Christ Jesus has come and will come again. He is in or midst, among us. The question for us on this Christmas is: How will we keep Christmas?
At the end of the movie the narrator tells us that Scrooge, now transformed by grace, was better than his word. In this we see our call to transformation. A man 100% focused with complete integrity on the world and business has become a man 100% focused with complete integrity on walking Jesusâ€™ gospel path.
Can we be that transformed person right now? If so, let us then keep the light that has dawned for us and share that light with 100% commitment and integrity, not just this day, but every day, and God will bless us, everyone.