It has become an annual tradition of mine to read Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I have read the book so many times that I can almost recite the entire story from memory. But, no matter how many times I have read it, it never fails to warm my heart, to inspire me, and to bring me joy. It’s not the story itself that does all these things, but rather the theme behind the story, the theme of redemption, of a heart softened and a life changed.
The story of Ebenezer Scrooge is one of a man who, because of greed, disappointment, and bitterness, developed a hardness of heart. He cared only about his money and not about those around him who were in need. He had pushed away the people who cared for him and wanted nothing more from him but his friendship and love. But, due to the intervention of three Christmas spirits, Scrooge was reminded of the things that are most important in life. As a result, Scrooge began to change. When in the presence of the last of the spirits, Scrooge himself said, “I am not the man I was. I will not be the man I must have been but for this intercourse. Why show me this, if I am past hope!”
Of course, Scrooge was not past hope, and the same can be said for each of us. No matter where our hearts are, no matter how hardened they may have become because of the cares of life, we are never beyond hope. We have a God who loves us enough to have sent His Son to earth two thousand years ago, to be born as a baby who would one day become our Savior, giving His life so that we can have eternal life with God. When we believe in Him, when we accept His gift of salvation and follow Him, like Scrooge, we are changed. Scripture tells us that, when we are in Christ, we are a new creation. The old person is gone, replaced by a new and better version (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Christ came to bring joy to the world. He came to give us peace in our hearts. He came to make us the children of God that we were created to be. He came to give us hope. What better time of year to remind ourselves of this than during the Christmas season? Dickens ends A Christmas Carol with the following line: “And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless us, every one!” This Christmas season, take time to reflect on the love that God showed us by sending Jesus to us, to reflect on how truly blessed we are.