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Dickens novel illustrates the Christmas message

Spiritual Outlook with K.A. Zachary

Charles Dickens lived in the day when Queen Victoria married Prince Albert of Germany. When the Prince Consort moved to England, he brought his Saxon traditions to the celebration of Christmas. Christmas trees, Christmas cards and Christmas carols began to be part of the Christmas celebration for England.

As Englanders embraced the new traditions, Dickens produced one of his most popular works entitled “A Christmas Carol.” The main character of the story is Ebenezer Scrooge, a wealthy, grumpy, greedy old man who thought Christmas celebrations and the spirit of giving was simply “humbug.” One Christmas Eve night Scrooge is forced to confront his condition as he encounters visitors in a series of dreams which result in a transformation of his character.

The story ends with Scrooge happily sharing his wealth in celebration of Christmas; however, the name “Scrooge” remains a title for any and all who attempt to dampen the spirit of joy and giving at Christmastime. Whether Dickens intended it or not, the transformed Scrooge introduced at the end of the story gives us much to ponder in consideration of the real meaning of Christmas.

Christmas is a time to be reminded of God’s greatest gift to the inhabitants of earth. According to Luke’s Gospel record, over two thousand years ago, angels announced the gift to shepherds who were watching their flocks by night. The angels said, “Today in the city of David, there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).

God gave the world his Son to be Savior and Redeemer to any and all who come to see their need of deliverance from the power and eternal consequences of sin. The Scrooge character in Dickens’ story was a man in need of change and deliverance. His work was his master, his money was his god, and his life was without purpose or meaning. The condition is epidemic in our postmodern materialistic society where the real problem is our sinful nature.

Dickens’ novel may serve to illustrate the Scrooge in all of humanity. To some degree, we all have known the greedy, selfish, grumpy character that sometimes wells up to reveal the presence of sin within us. When the Scrooge character realized that the price for his sinful, selfish living was eternal punishment, he awakened repentant and transformed, and he accepted the opportunity to have a new life.

Dickens’ story reveals the Christmas message that individuals do not have to live a futile, miserable life. God awaits your cry for deliverance through Christ. You can be transformed and know God’s greatest gift, the true gift of Christmas – newness of life in Christ. When you receive the Christ of Christmas as your Savior, your heart will be opened to give the greatest gifts.

If you know the real meaning of Christmas what gift might you offer to others this Christmas season? Give the gift of love. Tell your friends and family how much they mean to you. Since God has forgiven you, you should offer others the gift of forgiveness. Call the person you have disagreements with and settle the issue. In joyful celebration, give the gift of kindness. The persons who help you load the Christmas tree, or those who work long hours at the register checking out other Scrooges, be sure to tell them “thank you.”

Give the gift of a smile, or a laugh, or a simple pat on the back, but above all, (ABOVE ALL , I say), share with someone the good news of God’s gift – a Savior who is Christ the Lord. Merry Christmas and “May God bless us, everyone!”

K.A. Zachary, is pastor of New Covenant Church, 215 Florida Ave., Denham Springs. Contact Rev. Zachary at 225-664-0858.