“God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
John 3: 16
A couple of years ago I had an opportunity to watch a musical version of a classic story, “A Christmas Carol.” Rockford Metro Christian Youth Theater (CYT) did an amazing job with this wonderful story of transformation. The singers and dancers did a great job telling the story of Ebenezer Scrooge changing from a bitter, miserly old man to a joyful, generous, spirit-filled man. I never realized, until I saw this production, how Ebenezer became the “Scrooge.” His father was taken from him and put into a debtors prison, telling him to “save his pennies” and make a lot of money. His mother dies and he and his sister are sent to separate orphanages and workhouses. Later in life, Ebenezer’s fear of poverty provoked him to choose workaholism over his love for his fiancee, Emily. She releases him from their engagement, and he hardens his heart, and becomes consumed with acquiring money. On Christmas Eve, the seventh anniversary of his business partner’s death, he was visited by three ghosts. The ghosts show him the origin of the wounds to his heart, his past actions to others, how his actions currently effect them, and if things did not change, what the future would hold for him. In the end, the possible death of an innocent young boy softens his stone heart. The final scenes allow us to witness a man transformed from a living hell to a loving joy. What was the real catalyst for this transformation? I would argue that it came from the source of where all redemption and transformation comes: the true reason for the Christmas season. The spirit of Christmas originated with a Heavenly Father sending his only Son to complete a mission that only He could complete. There is adventure, suffering, healing, death, and resurrection in this story. All for recipients who do not know him. It is one of the greatest stories of love. It is the power of unconditional love that allows a great transformation to happen. Ebenezer may be an extreme example of how a person’s wounds lead to a hardened heart. Or, is he? Do we allow our hurts, disappointments, and set backs to harden our hearts, and cause us to turn away from our fellow man? Maybe it happens in more subtle ways, such as, being closed off to others who are different from us. Or, we may justify our actions by saying that it is just a way to stay ahead. However it may be, Ebenezer shows us very clearly, it is no way to live. He is alone, lonely, bitter, paranoid, and without joy. But, through the power of something greater than himself, he is able to repent of his wrong doings, and accept the unconditional love of the great forgiver. Through the acceptance of this love, he is able to show love and give joy. It is a remarkable story. His story can be our story. All we need to do is accept this unconditional love, admit and repent of wrongs, address our wounds, and live with a life-giving heart.
Will you choose to let the spirit of Christmas fill your heart?
Merry Christmas, Kevin Polky, CADC,LCSW