It’s a good thing that we’re reminded of the famous old Charles Dickens tale
of a man named Ebenezer Scrooge and a life that had almost failed…
to embrace all of the kindness and compassion that could be spread around.
Instead, Ebenezer’s greed and selfishness caused his life to be sadly bound.
The “ghost” of an old business partner appeared to him one Christmas Eve–
and told him he’d be visited by “spirits,” who’d have insights for him to receive.
If they could have him look back and remember some things that had been good–
then see in the present and the future the things that he really should,
then his life might still be rescued from a bankruptcy of the soul…
So, as each Christmas spirit visited in the night, that was their intended goal.
He’d just arrived at home, with resentment of paying Bob Cratchit, his clerk,
for the next day, Christmas Day, since Bob wouldn’t even have to work.
His nephew, Fred, had arrived that day with a cheerful “Merry Christmas” greeting.
“Bah, humbug,” was Ebenezer’s reply, as usual, at this time of their meeting.
Fred’s invitation to Christmas dinner, he also had declined once again,
and refused a plea by men who’d asked if he could help others not as fortunate as him.
So, one by one, the spirits awoke him, taking him first on a journey to recall
when he was a young apprentice to Mr. Fezziwig, who was generous and kind to all.
He saw his fiancee, Belle, who’d walked away due to realizing his first love
was the pursuit of money and success, which he couldn’t seem to put her above.
Perhaps, seeing his early childhood, too, when he had experienced love’s neglect
made him start to rethink his own neglect of others, who needed attention and respect.
The spirit of Christmas present brought him to Bob Cratchit’s family holiday–
where, despite being poor, they were thankful to God and always took time to pray.
He learned of their sweet child, Tiny Tim, who needed medical care beyond their means.
This began to touch Ebenezer’s soul, at last, to see such a heart-wrenching scene.
He saw the celebration at Fred’s house, where friends were mocking Ebenezer’s inability to share; but Fred only spoke kind words of pity for his Uncle–his love for him was always there.
The spirit of the present revealed children, Ignorance and Want, shivering beneath its robe, representing the less fortunate whom we’re to help and are with us throughout the globe.
The ghost of Christmas yet to come revealed funerals, one of a man who no one mourned. Then Ebenezer also saw the Cratchit home, where Tiny Tim had died–the family there, forlorn.
He ultimately learns that the man not mourned was himself, to his great shock and dismay. He begs the spirit to give him another chance to make amends–then he awakes to Christmas Day.
Immediately, Scrooge sends the Crachits a huge turkey, which was, to them, a gift that was profuse. Next, he encounters those who had asked of his donation–his wallet now was generous and loose.
Then, on to Fred’s house, the changed Ebenezer proceeds, to inquire if he could still join them… to celebrate God’s goodness at Christmas and always! This story is truly a meaningful gem.
P A. Oltrogge
(The above synopsis from “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens)