As a child, I remember The Christmas Carol would be on the TV all the time from about the end of November until the end of December. It is not because the TV networks did not have anything else to play, but, it was because my mother absolutely adored the story of The Christmas Carol and collected every version and rendition of it that she possibly could. I remember her favorite version of A Christmas Carol was the one where Albert Finney starred as Ebenezer Scrooge.
This one featured the song, “I hate people,” where Scrooge sang this song down the snowy roads, filled with people, until he got to where he was going. The tune is catchy and easy to get jammed into your head.
When you look at the lyrics of the song, it is actually a bit comical. When the laughter stops though, you see past the words of the song and see a very sad, lonely, and broken individual.
Ebenezer Scrooge is the epitome of thought patterns and behavior that is jaded and cynical. However, he didn't get that way over night. When the Ghost of Christmas Past takes Scrooge back to his past, there is a mixture of emotions. At first, he is excited to see his young peers and his old school. But then, you see Scrooge left in the school, all alone on Christmas. The bitterness starts to creep in as Scrooge sees himself left alone, abandoned by his family on Christmas. In some renditions of the story, when the Ghost of Christmas Past returns him to his bed, Scrooge is bitter until he falls back to sleep and the Ghost of Christmas Present comes to visit him.
It is easy to become bitter when we think about the past. The night is a perfect time for our minds to wander to the past. In the darkness, it is easy for our souls to slip into their own darkness. Imagine Dragons has a song called "Birds." In this song, there is a short line that says, "Death can make you hard, hard, hard." Hardness or bitterness can very quickly and easily overtake us if we are not careful.
Those of us who are plugged in and involved at church, we have each other in Christ on which to rely when things go south. Think about those who do not. Think about the least, the last, the lost, and the lonely. For those of us who were raised in church, it seems pretty intuitive to go to church. We go to church to commune with God and with each other. However, to a world that is becoming increasingly unchurched, it is not intuitive to go to church. In fact, it basically takes a disaster in life to get the average person to go to church.
So, for us, the message is clear. We are Christians. This means we are to go into a lost world and be Christ to them. We are to make the effort. Ebenezer Scrooge had the ghost of Jacob Marley and the other three ghosts of Christmas to help turn his life around. The rest of the world isn't so lucky. Go be Jesus to someone.