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Keeping Christmas Well

December 22, 2011

Charles Dickens gave us several models of love in the characters of the Cratchit family, Scrooge’s nephew, and finally, in Scrooge himself.[1]  These characters exemplified the love that is the heart of Christmas.

Scrooge was transformed by the faith and hope rekindled in him during his journey through time.  He was led to joyfully express his love for others.  He was given the gift of clarity; his eyes were opened to his selfish behaviors, he repented of them, came to faith and hoped for a different life than the one he had lived.  Unencumbered by past sins, he was once again free to love.  Scrooge began his new life by reconciling with his nephew and the Cratchit family, and by sharing his wealth.  Dickens’ narrator reports that Scrooge continued to express his  love for others:  “. . . and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge.  May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us Every One!”[2]

Just as his newfound faith and hope moved Scrooge to love others, so the Christmas gospel propels us to express our love for others in tangible ways.  Faith and hope are the means to love.[3]  When interviewed recently by Hugh Hewitt, Pastor Rick Warren explained that God used the angel announcing Jesus’ birth to bring us three messages:  messages of celebration, salvation and reconciliation.[4]  The angel delivered the message to joyfully celebrate the birth of the baby Jesus (“tidings of great joy”), because of our faith and hope in salvation (“for there is born to you this day . . . a Savior, who is Christ the Lord”), propelling us to love and be reconciled to others, (“peace, goodwill toward men!”)..

May it be said of us that we keep Christmas well.  “And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us Every One!”

Diane C. Reagan

December 22, 2011

[1] Dickens, Charles, Christmas Books (Collins, London and Glasgow. 1843), “A Christmas Carol”

[2]  Id, p. 85.

[3]  “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13.  See Matthew Henry’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 13: “And faith, hope and love, are the three principal graces of which charity is chief, being the end to which the other two are but means.”

[4] Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. . .13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 14“ Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”  The Bible, Luke 2: 10-14, New King James version.

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