Distraction of Dickens

scrooge

Roman 15:13
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

“A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens is one of my favorite Christmas movies that I can watch again and again. Whether it is the “Scrooge” musical, the Muppet version, the Disney rendition, the original 1938 film, or one of the many contemporary re-makes, there is holiday nostalgia woven into each one. This story has been recreated using different settings, different time eras and even unique casting choices (i.e. Mickey Mouse, Mr. Magoo, Cicely Tyson, Bill Murray). My favorite versions are the ones that use the original Victorian winter settings with the exquisite costuming, the picturesque street scenes, and a bit of music.

Dickens has carefully crafted each character with timeless qualities and unique influences on the story’s overall message of hope; from the simple faith of Tiny Tim to the transformation of the miserly and bitter Ebenezer Scrooge. My eyes always well up with tears when Scrooge walks into the home of the Cratchit family bearing gifts and changing their lives forever, because of his own conversion.

Now I am very aware that this movie has no connection with the Biblical story of Christmas. However I believe that part of the popularity of the Dickens story; “A Christmas Carol” is its promise of hope wrapped in a message of redemption. It’s that message of hope and redemption that has everything to do with the Biblical story of Christmas. For Christ was sent to bring hope to a hurting world and new life to others. This Biblical Christmas Story has been re-told and re-made many more times than the Charles Dickens’ story, “A Christmas Carol”. God has crafted each character with timeless qualities and unique influences on the story’s overall message of hope; from the unsuspecting shepherds to the persevering wise men, from the heavenly angels to the protective Joseph.

Ebenezer Scrooge’s life was changed on Christmas Eve by the visit of three fictional spirits who revealed to him the devastating consequences of his own selfish decisions. God offers us a similar transformation. Our world was changed 2000 years ago in the gift of Jesus Christ. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only son, that whoever believes in Him, shall not perish but have everlasting life.” Each of us can be transformed by our relationship with Christ.

This is what we celebrate on Christmas, the promise of hope and new life given through the gift of a Savior. Dickens’ story fleshes out the transformation that is possible when one is filled with a love for mankind and a hope for the future. This Christmas, “may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13.

So as you watch your favorite Christmas movies with their elusive messages of hope, be intentional about sharing the Christmas story and God’s eternal message of hope.

Dear Lord, I know I don’t need to be visited by three ghosts for You reveal Your hope to me. Your Christmas story has the glory of the angels, the humbleness of the stable, and the innocence of the baby Jesus. Yet I know it means nothing without your sacrifice on the cross. Thank you for that hope that you offer me every day, not just at Christmas. Amen

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