A Christmas Carol written by Charles Dickens is a classic tale of redemption penned during the industrial revolution where its toils and difficulted had supplanted the joy of Christmas. The story revolves around the memorable Ebenezer Scrooge who has the chance of a lifetime; to repent of his ways and partake in the spirit of Christmas.
Probable your exposure to this favorite Christmas tale is through its many movie renderings, from the classic 1951 adaptation with Alastair Sim to perhaps the goofy Mr. Magoo animated version. Regardless of your favorite electronic edition, there are many important aspects of the book overlooked.
Marley Find Truth…Too Late
In the original book, Scrooge has a ghostly conversation with the long-dead business partner Jacob Marley which Marley exclaims, “I suffer most. Why did I walk through crowds of fellow-beings with my eyes turned down, and never raise them to that blessed Star which led the Wise Men to a poor abode?” An obvious reference to the centerpiece of Christmas; the Child Jesus.
What Marley has realized in death, Scrooge must come to know in life if he is the escape the fate that awaits him in the vision provided by the Ghost of Christmas future. This death is more than physical but eternal; a reality Scrooge has resisted all his life and even in the face of two haunting spirits. Only in the third and most dreadful of the three does he begin to deal with this issue.
Standing before his tomb scrooge asks a question of great importance to himself and us alike. “Are these the shadows of the things that Will be, or are they shadows of the things that May be only?”
Following the Star
The star that Marley wished he has followed himself leads us to this answer. The wise men sought after the King that was promised to come to save all of humanity. Specifically, to save them from their sins. Scrooges sins were many as represented by the long chains that Marley said he had forged during his life. These chains of sins are shared among all men and women alike, and they will drag us down to our death. Jesus confirms this in his own words but also provides us with the hope of escape.
“And you will perish, too, unless you repent of your sins and turn to God.” (Luke 13:3)
The Ghost of Christmas Future provide no verbal reply to Scrooge, but Jesus responds in his place. Yes, these are shadows of what May be only IF we fail to repent and place our trust in Jesus Christ.
Let this classic Christmas tale remind us that in this life we are all like Scrooge looking at shadows only until they are solidified in our disobedience to follow after Jesus.