Charles Dickens’s, A Christmas Carol, is, in my book, the best Christmas story of all time, with the exception, of course, of the real Christmas story. I even included two different versions of the movie in my list of the Top 10 Christmas Movies Of All Time.
As we have done for the last several years, the wife and I attended the theatre Saturday night to watch the stage version of this classic. If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen my tweets from the front row of the show (though I did so before the play began and during intermission).
What makes A Christmas Carol is the theme of repentance. Scrooge is a greedy, selfish, miserable excuse for a human, who, through the help of three spirits (I prefer to believe they are angels), is given a rare view of himself from outside himself. He has a hyper objective epiphany of what he has become, and it brings change.
It was the same way when I became a Christian, I saw the reality of who I was and my need for forgiveness only Jesus can offer. It was a moment of clarity unlike any I had experienced before or since in my life.
Most of us before we become Christians live in a self-induced fog which prevents us from seeing how depraved and self-centered we really are. It’s only by the grace of God and the conviction of the Holy Spirit we find the moment of clarity that enables us to see as things really are, as we really are, and respond appropriately. A Christmas Carol is about that moment of seeing.
When Scrooge repents it’s obvious because he immediately goes out into the street and begins acting differently. He forgives his debtors, he gives to the Cratchits, is reconciled to his nephew and is full of joy, all fruits of repentance. Repentance is a turning from the wrong ways to the right ones, from bad conduct to good, and from negative attitudes to righteous ones. The greatest evidence of a changed heart is a changed life. When he turned, Scrooge was all that and a bag of chips.
If you’ve never experienced that epiphany and turned, there is a good chance you’ve never really repented and given your life to Jesus. We are all Scrooges before turning to Jesus; we differ only in degree. If you’ve never made that decision, this Christmas could be the one you never forget, the one that changes your life foreover. GS