By Mary Lindow
Greetings Brothers and Sisters!
I’m sure that you’ll remember the story that on Christmas Eve, Ebenezer Scrooge is locked up in the darkness of his dim house. Dickens tells us, “Darkness is cheap, and Scrooge liked it.”
Today, we still know that darkness is cheap, easy to find, and its raw materials of despair and denial are in abundant supply.
Scrooge liked darkness, as we often do, because it hides what we fear, keeps us from facing what is true, and allows us to be blind to truth. But like so many things that come cheaply, our overindulgence in them comes at great cost.
Out of Scrooge’s darkness appears the ghost of Jacob Marley, Scrooge’s former business partner. Marley comes not to haunt Scrooge, but to free him. Scrooge sees that Marley is bound in chains.
“Why are you fettered?” Scrooge asks.
“I wear the chain I forged in life,” Marley says. “I made it link by link, and yard by yard,” and he tells Scrooge that the chain that will fetter him in the darkness is even longer, heavier and harder still, if he does not leave the darkness.
WOW! There is a lot of wisdom here!
Though chains placed by others might fetter us, most of our chains are forged by the part of our spiritual self that likes the darkness and shuns the light. Marley was fettered to cashboxes, deeds and ledgers, as was Scrooge.
What would fetter or chain you?
Brothers and Sisters, the life of any leader or person in some form of care, supervision or one with employees or volunteer workers, a person with a bit of over-site over others, needs to be bravely examined, fully exposed to the pure and strong light of God’s eyes and checked often for hardness of heart, the love of acumen, pride in achievements and the over lording of others.
Jesus coming into the world—God in human skin—announced what had been hoped forever, that the captive person would be released from the darkest prisons—physical and spiritual. To our inner spiritual soul, our chains and fetters will be crushed, if we are willing to leave the darkness. Like Scrooge, do we need to be “scared out”? Shaken from slumber?
Scrooge could not receive the simple gift of Christmas, so ghosts rather than grace were sent. But, the result is love.
We need the light of God’s love that by its very nature is a love that comes to give us and those we serve, value and worth, not a love that comes because we are already valuable and worthy.
The entire point of "A Christmas Carol" is that Scrooge is entirely unworthy of God’s mercy, because Scrooge has no mercy! But! Mercy and love come to Scrooge through the judgment of the ghosts, and this "transformation" makes the unworthy Scrooge, worthy again.
The light of God that comes as love, forgiveness and hope is a light that brings judgment. I know that most of us get uncomfortable when talking about God’s judgment, because we are so afraid that we are unworthy of God’s love.
But, look at Scrooge! Without God’s light, without the promise of God’s love, Scrooge is doomed!
It is love and judgment bringing him into the light.
Can we now see that judgment by God as a form of God’s love? His way of exposing the darkness of our own souls? Romans 2:16 has proof of this probing of our secret lives!!
“And this is the message I proclaim--that the day is coming when God, through Christ Jesus, will judge everyone's secret life.”
Oh friends! Will we ever fully learn that God does not love us because we have value, but instead, HE loves us to give us worth? Life without the pure love of God coursing through our being is a vapor and miserable!
Let's say to the Spirit of God with all of our hearts, the words Scrooge humbly uttered after he was confronted and faced his darkened heart.
"I will honor Christmas in my heart,
and try to keep it all the year."
What is Christmas?
When Heaven kissed earth with the greatest act of sacrifice...
... Sending us a Redeemer.
Who is Christ the Lord?
He IS THE Spirit, of CHRISTmas!
Let’s Humbly Pray this prayer together,
Father God, be gracious to me I pray, according to your loving- kindness. Father, my sins are heavy against me and my soul is troubled. For the many wrongs I have done against you and for the many evil thoughts and unholy attitudes I have allowed to influence my heart, and rule my life, for far to long.
I have sought to condone my wrongdoings, and ignore the voice of my conscience within. And I ask your forgiveness for my foolish pride, in ignoring the gentle promptings of Your Holy Spirit.
Forgive me I pray, and restore to me the joy of your salvation. For you have promised that all who truly confess their sins will be forgiven and returned back into a right relationship with you - and cleansed from all unrighteousness.
Lord the sacrifice of my heart is brokenness before You, My soul is truly contrite and my desire is to return into a right relationship with you. I know that the consequences of my wrong choices may remain with me for a long time – but I ask that in Your grace and mercy You would forgive my sins and cleanse my soul and restore me into a right relationship with Yourself – and my heart will rejoice in God my Savior, in Whose name I pray,
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Thank You Copyright © 2019
“THE MESSENGER "~Mary Lindow