A Christmas life
- There are several things that have to happen in order for December to feel Christmassy to me. One category is movies. I have to see three movies for me to get to feeling in the Christmas spirit. Jimmy Stewart in ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, Darren McGavin in ‘A Christmas Story’ and finally the 1938 rendition of ‘A Christmas Carol’ with Reginald Owen.
The older I get, the more I see life lessons in the Charles Dickens story. So I am going to list but a few of these lessons that are relevant today.
In the beginning of the story, we see an angry man named Scrooge. As he hurriedly hushes home, he see’s the spirit of his old business partner on the door knocker. So we see that in the hustle and bustle of our lives, God sends us a little reminder in that the spirit of the Lord is ever present in our lives.
Now, Scrooge is alone and eating cold leftovers in a huge house. At this time, the full spirit of his old partner approaches Scrooge while bound by chains. Marley explains that it is the duty of everyone to interact and help one another. He wears the chains that he forged in life to weigh him down and torment him in the afterlife. When we don’t show love to one another, our spirit is hurt and tormented. God made us to be dependent to one another, and to accept help and to give help, and we are truly blessed when we love one another.
The spirit of Scrooges business partner then warns Scrooge that, for his benefit, he will be visited by three spirits, and that his very life depends on the ethereal visits. Our afterlife depends on three people, who are also one. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
The first spirit to visit Scrooge is the ghost of Christmas past. This spirit takes Scrooge to times in his past that was the foundation of his character. We see that Scrooge was abandoned in a school by his father. You could feel for Ebenezer , feeling unloved by his father after his mother died. But we see that it was his sister that brought him the news that he was going home. Then, his apprenticeship with ‘good ol’ Feziwig’ that taught him not only business, but a bright Christmas spirit filled with love and generosity and best of all, joy. But, then we see Ebenezer fall into the trap of greed and profit without concern for his fellow man. It cost him the love of his fiancé. Everyone has a unique past, filled with joy and heartache. But if we become so obsessed with ourselves without love for our fellow man, our soul suffers. Without love, we become selfish empty people with an emptiness in our hearts.
The second spirit was the ghost of Christmas present. Scrooge saw who and how he had an effect on people in his life. Then he saw people suffering in life’s situation but who still had hope and was still filled with the Christmas spirit. He saw how people really felt about him and how some had contempt, some made fun of him and others, like his nephew, refused to give up on him. If we only knew how our lives intertwined with others, like George Bailey in ‘It’s a wonderful life’ or Scrooge with the ghost of Christmas present, we might see just how important each of us are. How much better our lives are when we care for others the way God cares for us.
The ghost of Christmas present warned Scrooge of the two ‘children’ under his cloak. These two were named ‘Want’ and ‘Ignorance’. The spirit warned that both were wretched and vile, but be mostly afraid of the boy names ‘Ignorance’ as it is written on his brow ‘Doom’ . We have a generation of people that are ignorant even though they may be educated. Ignorance breeds doom and destruction for all of mankind.
The third and final spirit was the ghost of Christmas yet to come. Scrooge sees the death of an innocent child, Tiny Tim. A child disfigured and cannot walk yet sees joy and life in life. Because of the love of Bob Cratchet, Tiny Tim knows love and sees love in the world. Scrooge sees how the world is not as bright without the unconditional love of a child. He also sees people pecking over his possessions like buzzards over a dead body. And he also sees his own destruction which was cold and emotionless. This is when Scrooge asks the spirit ‘are these the shadows of what will be or what might be’? You see, Scrooge was given a last chance to change his life. Scrooge had an epiphany that changed his life and the life of those around him. He finally realized how the spirit of Christmas could change his life and the life of those around him. He learned how having joy in his heart could make his life better and that the spirit of Christ gives hope and joy to the world.
But I see an additional message. Scrooge lived with all the spirits in his heart, every day. He lived with joy in his heart and had a joyous life because he lived Christmas every day. He did not just have joy and love in his heart one day a year, the spirit of Christmas was in him. It changed him, it transformed him and life was better because the spirit lived in him. Read that again…’THE SPIRIT LIVED IN HIM’. How our lives and those around us are better when the spirit of Christ lives within us every day. The spirit of Christmas is love and generosity. It is faith in a future filled with joy and life.
It is only a story written by Charles Dickens many years ago, yet the message that lays within it are ever so important. Without the spirit of Christmas, Scrooge was an empty man without hope. He was alive yet lacked life. With the spirit, he lived, had joy and spread joy to others.
What life lessons do you see in ‘A Christmas Carol’? Are you living a life with the spirit of Christmas every day?