Recession-proof Christian Life
12/21/13 at 08:10 AM 0 Comments

A Christmas Carol - Will you let Jesus Go?

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A Christmas Carol is a novella by English author Charles Dickens about miserly, cold, unfeeling, old and curmudgeonly Ebenezer Scrooge and his holiday conversion and redemption after being visited by four ghosts on Christmas Eve. The book was first published on 19 December 1843 and quickly met with commercial success and critical acclaim. The tale is viewed as an indictment of 19th century industrial capitalism and has been credited with returning the holiday to one of merriment and festivity in Britain and America after a period of Puritan sobriety and sombreness. Till today it remains perhaps one of the most popular themes for family entertainment in the season and is noted for having secularized the season - making it a holiday that all may enjoy. The best thing about this classic is its significant role in reinventing Christmas with an emphasis on family, goodwill, and compassion.

In this clip, see below, a young Scrooge chooses his love of money over love for his fiancée.

I do not like this film not just because of its strong links to occultic deception(ghosts) - but its success in rekindling traditions of extravagant holiday consumption which effaced sober reflections eventually easing Jesus Christ completely out . It achieved this in a clever way - rightly denouncing capitalist exploitation and expounding the virtues of joy, generousity and care for the poor and less privileged - but also employing strong negative themes and images that severely caricatured and discredited Ebenezer Scrooge.

Ebenezer actually means "The stone of help" and Scrooge means " a miserly mean-spirited person". This combined nomenclature vaguely suggests the "stone of help" is miserly and mean. The plot unfolding here was to kill and bury Christian puritanism at the time of Charles Dickens and you be the judge on its effectiveness.

However, I want to focus on the clip above (pls. watch it again) and the frustration of Ebenezer's fiancee which reminds me of the appeal of Christ in His words to Peter.

John 12[15] So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon ... do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”

How long will Jesus Christ continue to beg to be loved as He observes His lambs (souls) starved of salvation by His word, true comfort and provision. Like Ebenezer told Emily, we have told Jesus - all the merriment is for Him, we are really doing it all for Him, working for Him, giving for Him, earning more to tithe to Him and our joyful singing and dancing is unto Him... all the things we do that keep us busy, we say we do it for Him....but we lie like Scrooge – we do it all for our please our flesh. Jesus replies that He never cared for our activities but just wants our love, which we should show by spreading His gospel and discipling and comforting the nations to live as pilgrims in a strange world.

Eventually Jesus gives back all the gold we say we have given Him...and whatever else we want, position, mega-churches, power and our dreams...only that He be left alone. Some do quickly accept this offer and return to business-as-usual and will indeed end up becoming very wealthy but secretly grow in misery. The wise find the grace to say no. Instead they release the frenzied occupation that allows no time for God but comes with generous bonuses, they shut down the many religious activities that are cold and empty and come apart to rediscover a new relationship with Christ - chasing after Him with a fresh zeal ... abandoning all like a young man with his first love. Jesus is our Ebenezer and He is neither miserly nor mean-spirited ... He is love. When we truly find Him - we will love through Him in a way the world has never known.

Go after Jesus like never before this season and let everything else go. When we have gone after Him and encountered His mercy, love and embrace we then discover that we have found everything.

Isaiah 55[6] Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near.

Have a wonderful Christmas and a wonderful new year.

(originally published in Author's blog in Dec. 2009)

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