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Christmas Carol

  I love Charles Dickens "A Christmas Carol" ; a story of a bitter miser Ebenezer Scrooge  who is taken on a ghostly journey of self-redemption.  Every Christmas I have to read this wonderful story, it has within it all the power of self-redemption.

If you believe in a God of Love than you believe that people can change and do change.  We all know the story of Scrooge, the embittered old man who builds walls of money and deliberate isolation around himself as wall of protection. Needing love, Scrooge replaces it with money; this with the isolation guarantees that Scrooge is no longer able to live out the Great Commandment to Love God, Love Neighbour and Love of Self. "It is required of every man," the ghost returned, "that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide; and, if that spirit goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death."

Scrooge is a wounded soul; wounded by situations and experiences far out of his control. He sees life as a series of disappointments and can not see that he has control over his attitude toward them and his reaction to them.   He can not give to charity when other business men came to collect money for the poor, he can not see fit to give Bob Cratchit more coal for the fire or to graciously give Bob Christmas day off from work, in fact he is required to arrive all the earlier the next day.  With his own nephew, Fred, Scrooge can not abide the greeting of Happy Christmas, and the invitation to Christmas Day dinner.  He has taught himself that life is beyond joy, it is only filled with pain.  "External heat and cold had little influence on Scrooge. No warmth could warm, no wintry weather chill him. No wind that blew was bitterer than he, no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less open to entreaty"

He has become a very small person indeed, invisible by his lack of connection with others.  No one sees him.  They do not interact with him, only react to him. As we learn at his death no one seems to mourn his passing, in fact his housekeeper so devoid of any grief has taken his possessions to be pawned off.  The "mourning" business colleagues were only going to come to Scrooge's funeral if a lunch in provided. In Charles Dickens classic it takes three ghosts to help Scrooge recreate himself anew.

The first ghost, the one of Jacob Marley, comes to warn Scrooge about the dangers of being obsessed with money.  But he does more, as he leaves Scrooge sees hundreds of ghosts fettered by their chains doomed to be aware of need but no way to interact.

The second ghost comes to help Scrooge remember, to revisit, to relearn from the past.  We, like Scrooge, can not truly change what we do not acknowledge. like Scrooge there is much in our lives that we have no control over.  For Scrooge it was the abandonment of his father, the loss of her beloved sister, the changes of fortune of his favourite boss; all of these Scrooge could not predict, change or remove; the only thing he could control was how he reacted, and he reacted badly.  At last, however, he began to think -- as you or I would have thought at first; for it is always the person not in the predicament who knows what ought to have been done in it, and would unquestionably have done it too.  We are called like Scrooge look at our past not to be stuck in it but to see it as it was the good and bad.  We learn from our revisit that the past has as much grief as joy; there is always lessons that we can take away, there is always those times of great bravery, great purpose that we must remember because these are the tools we should use in the future.

The third ghost comes to Scrooge to give him the insight that we, and Scrooge, should let go of all we believe to be true but are not and take the time to clearly look at the situation.  Christmas Present is the most important of the ghosts.  The Ghost of Christmas Present brought charity to Scrooge, just as God brings us charity.  This Ghost carries a burden with great love: a little boy Ignorance, and the girl Want.  Scrooge is told to fear the boy most, and it is a warning for us as well: to not be ignorant of things in our lives because we can not change what we do not know; and as well the girl of want will have us stay unaware because we will do not want to know.  It is when we become aware and live in love we can only then begin to see not only our own ignorance and want but those of others.    That is how we can begin to connect with ourselves and therefore reconnect with others for the world is filled with all types of ignorance and want and it is our loving burden to help dispel it.

The last ghost of the future brings the past, the present together, it is how we live, learn and love that we create our future, but the future is not set in stone but can be changed at anytime, that is God's grace.  We work out those things we need to leave in God's hands, use those things that give us strength, use all the things we learned, we reconnect with ourselves and others.

If we take our Christmas lessons to heart, we, like Scrooge, will see that to help others, helps us grow, because we are interconnected one to the other, and each of us to God.

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