Living in the Spirit of Charles Dickens
This time of year always seems to be such a letdown. The build up to Christmas Day—all the shopping and music and movies and parties and pre-Christmas gift exchanges—gets you all geared up for “The Day.” If you have children or grandchildren, then the sparkle in their eyes fans the flame of anticipation even brighter.
Then, after the presents have been dismantled (and some assembled), after the turkey and ham and potatoes and stuffing have stuffed the family, and after everyone sits around a table or a living room to chuckle and laugh, holding a cup of coffee and maybe a piece of pie, everyone goes home.
Thoroughly exhausted. And in need of a treadmill.
If you work a typical job, and December 26th falls on a work day, you’re right back at it, like it was June. Just a little colder.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. It wasn’t for Scrooge.
If anyone would have felt right at home with December 26th falling on a workday, it was Ebenezer Scrooge. When you’re a “tight-fisted hand at the grindstone”1 kind of guy, “a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner,” work is all you know. Gathering with family is a waste of time. Giving to charity? Frivolous. Taking an entire day off and paying your hired help “a whole day’s wages for no work”? You feel like your pocket has been picked. Every 25th of December.
This attitude helps you become “as solitary as an oyster.” Seriously. Who wants to be around that?
However, it was on Christmas Day, in three different time periods, where the transformation took place for Mr. Scrooge. And after his heart had been changed, after Christmas Day, it was then Scrooge felt anything but a letdown. Instead, the opposite was true.
Scrooge “became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world…and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge.”
Being party to the spiritual world, realizing there is much more to this Earth than rocks and air and water and material possessions obviously helped Ebenezer “see” for the first time. When his mortality rose to the fore, his eternal state became the real issue.
And the same should be said of us, don’t you think? If anyone should believe in the spiritual world, it should be a Christian. Yet, I just read an article recently which spoke about how “Christians” are leaving “organized religion” churches left and right. One of the things cited as a puzzle piece to the larger picture of this exodus was the growing lack of belief in “the miraculous” because of “evolving views.” They no longer believe in God because of science, common sense, or what they claim as a “lack of evidence” (also rooted in science, I might add). Some would say these folks never believed at all, and fall into three of the four categories Jesus listed in The Parable of the Sower (Matt. 13). I agree. In the words of Keith Green, “Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to McDonald’s makes you a hamburger.”
Yet, this recent article by the Pew Research Foundation brought to bear something which prompted me a year ago to write a manuscript (it now resides in the hands of some publishers for consideration). This article actually proved my point in writing the manuscript, The Letters.
If anyone can draw from the joy that is eternal life, it should be a Christian. If anyone can see the work of God around us, both in the physical world and the spiritual, even sometimes weaving themselves together into an intricate, eternal message, it should be a Christian. And when people around us laugh at our beliefs, we should pray that they too can be visited by spirits for their reclamation.
Yet, according to this article, there is a huge disconnect between people who “grew up” in the church and God Himself.
Could it be that we who are called to be light and salt have been dim and bland in our walks with Christ? Could it be that this disconnect between these folks and God is due not to a power surge (wherein circuits got burned out) but to an insufficient flow of power (the power company calls these occurrences “brown outs”)?
Have our views on spiritual things been altered into evolved, “more acceptable views” of the spiritual side of life? Does God save anyone from a pack of lions anymore? Are the seas too deep these days for God to part?
We hold the keys to the kingdom, Jesus said (Matt. 16:19). Let’s not slam shut the door to the world that saved Ebenezer. It’s not fictional. For it is in this world we will be living for all eternity (cf. Matthew 22:29-30; Revelation 21:1-5).
So, who in your sphere of influence needs reclamation? The key is in your hand, Believer.
“May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God Bless Us, Every One!”
1 Dickens, Charles. A Christmas Carol. Dec. 1843. Taken from http://literature.org/authors/dickens-charles/christmas-carol/index.html. All subsequent quotes also come from this site.
Kevin Thompson is an ordained minister, having served churches in New York, Mississippi, Texas, and Iowa. His published works include two award-winning novels, The Serpent’s Grasp (winner of the 2013 Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference Selah Award for First Fiction) and 30 Days Hath Revenge-A Blake Meyer Thriller: Book 1 (Book 2 coming Christmas 2016) as well as articles in The Wesleyan Advocate, The Preacher, Vista, The Des Moines Register and The Ocala Star-Banner.
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