A Christmas Choice

Many of us are well acquainted with A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. It’s an endearing story of the struggle mankind has faced since the beginning of time – the burning desire for power, money, and fame. Although the setting of the tale is 18th century London, the issues it raises are just as relevant for us today. Specifically, I believe this story should cause us to ask ourselves three questions.

First, are we willing to sacrifice to help others less fortunate than we? Multiple times, the main character (Ebenezer Scrooge) is asked for donations to help the poor in various ways.  He responds bitterly and suggests the poor should avail themselves of resources that society provides or simply die and “decrease the surplus population.” Although I don’t think anyone today would say these exact words, I think we might be equally as negligent if we choose not to sacrificially give to programs like Kingdom Builders, specifically designed to help missionaries reach those less fortunate throughout the world.

Second, what is the condition of our hearts?  Throughout much of the film, Scrooge places more value on riches than he does on relationships.  As a result, he loses his fiancé, becomes estranged from his nephew, and has an employee who fears him rather than respects him.  Christmas is only a few days away, but I wonder how many of us have also allowed the desire for riches to poison our relationships with family and friends.  Are we holding onto bitterness and unforgiveness because someone owes us money? Are we working extra hours to make money at the cost of spending time with loved ones? Do people see the love of Christ when they look at how we live our lives?

Finally, are we willing to humble ourselves and ask for forgiveness, from both God and those whom we have wronged?  Towards the end of the story, Scrooge sees his own grave and begs the Ghost of Christmas Future for another chance, an opportunity to turn his life around.  When his request is granted, he makes amends with his employee and his family, and he lives the rest of his life with joy in his heart.

Let the same be said of us. God knows everything we’ve done-- what we do in secret and what we do in public.  He knows how hard this life can be, which is why Jesus came to live as one of us and die for our sins. This Christmas, I pray we can all learn the important lessons this story offers. Let us give to others sacrificially, let the condition of our heart reflect the love of our Father, and let us humble ourselves to seek His forgiveness for the times we have fallen short in living the way Jesus has showed us.

by Paul McCullough
Paul and his family came to Kingsway four years ago, after moving back to the United States from an overseas military tour in Japan. He has been with his bride, Heather, for 21 years and they have been blessed with two great kids, Paul IV and Sarah. Paul is passionate about ministry, working full time at the American Bible Society and engaging at Kingsway in KLS, Growth Track, Next Steps, and LifeGroups. He enjoys spending his spare time reading, building nanoblocks, and watching great movies.