Romans 12:2 (NLT)
2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
In Charles Dickens’s classic story A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge is portrayed as a scathingly sarcastic, complaining, and horrendously greedy person as the story begins. Dickens refers to Scrooge as “… a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner!”
In his drive for success and gaining wealth he has shut out all family and friends, and lost his chance at marrying the young lady who once loved him. His few remaining relationships are his one and only employee, whom he treats with disrespect and a few business acquaintances who only approach him when wanting financial assistance. He is now a miserable, bitter, wealthy old man. He is visited by four ghosts on Christmas Eve night. The first is the ghost of his business partner, Jacob Marley, who died on Christmas Eve seven years earlier. Like Scrooge, Marley had spent his life hoarding his wealth and exploiting the poor, and as a result is damned to walk the Earth for eternity bound in the chains of his own greed. Marley warns Scrooge that he risks meeting the same fate, and that as a final chance at redemption he will be visited by three spirits of Christmas: Past, Present, and Yet-to-Come. They each come at different times throughout the night and take him to places and times of his life to reveal to him his shortcomings and how his actions affected others. After the last spirit visits him, he comes to the realization of his sins.
As Christmas day dawns, one now finds Scrooge a transformed man, who only just the day before scoffed at Christmas or the idea of charity. He is giddy with delight at his revelation. He can’t get dressed and downstairs fast enough. The story says he went to church and as he walked about the streets he found that “everything could yield him pleasure. He had never dreamed that any walk – that anything – could give him so much happiness.”
The last page of the story says:
“Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them…His own heart laughed, and that was quite enough for him. And it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge.”
What was the source of Scrooges transformation? Gaining an eternal perspective through supernatural intervention. He was able to see his past, present and still-changeable future through the eyes of eternity.
God, through the Holy Spirit allows us the same transformation. We are offered redemption through Christ Jesus. He forgives us of our past sins, helps us to live in this present age, and promises eternity with Him. He gives joy beyond measure.
So this Christmas, which Scrooge are you? Are you the one that is so busy chasing after success as the world gives, losing family and friends because you no longer have the time for them; or have you been transformed with a joy beyond measure, transformed by the gift of salvation freely given by Christ Jesus?
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, there are so many Scrooges in this world. Father God, I pray for the ones who do not know you. Father I pray for the ones who are caught in careers, whose employers may be forcing them to take time away from you and their families for unreasonable periods of time. Dear Lord, open new doors of opportunity. Father, continue to give us a renewing of the mind so that we may reflect your love to others and they too may come to know the redeeming joy that only you give. In Christ’s name I pray. Amen.