In Charles Dickens’ familiar fable, Ebenezer Scrooge is taught by a visitation from four spirits that his life had been characterized by misery and had no hope of improving unless his bitter and hard heart would melt and embrace the joy of living. The first spirit was that of Jacob Marley, his deceased partner who warned him of the next three visitors.
Though he protested, the first spectre took him back in time. The Ghost of Christmas Past opened wounds of regret as he showed Scrooge’s poor choices in life, including the loss of his fiancé because of his intense greed for money.
The Ghost of Christmas Present further broke his heart as he witnessed the Cratchit family try to provide a merry meal in spite of the meager provisions. It is the humble and kind spirit of Cratchit’s crippled son, Tim, that further warms the cold heart of Scrooge. It is then that Scrooge notices two starved children in the coat of the Spirit…and their names are Ignorance and Want. It is, of course, the third Spirit that finally breaks the heart of Ebenezer Scrooge.
The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come takes Scrooge to a funeral. No tears of sadness are shed here. There are expressions of gratitude that he is finally gone. There are beggars trading his possessions. Scrooge begs to know for whom is this pitiful funeral. The Spirit takes him to a graveyard to reveal on the headstone that it is indeed the funeral of Ebenezer Scrooge. Everyone knows that when Scrooge woke up, his heart was changed and he brought food to the Cratchit’s, gave money to the charity, and spread cheer everywhere he could for the rest of his life.
It is the Christmas Yet to Come that we often neglect in our own lives. What will come of your life? Do you have a bitter and cold heart full of grudges and pain? What will they say about you when you are gone? Dicken’s fable is telling of the human condition. Jesus is the only one who can truly cleanse the heart and give us new life. The Spirit of God moves within you in order to bring about God’s character. Take a look around you. The hurting, the lost, those who are struggling through life could be blessed by your love if you are willing to give it.
A Christmas Carol is a fable, but it does remind us to do something that God would have us to do. “In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Further, “‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40). Let’s not get so involved in “right now” that we forget the Christmas yet to come.
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