(Scrooge. Noun: a mean or miserly person, a curmudgeon in Dickens' Christmas Carol.)
by Tim Patterson
PLYMOUTH, MI – Have you taken a survey of our nation and its present culture recently? Or for that matter, the world? I am not an alarmist, nor do I have a personality or character that focuses on the negative, nasty or the talking head nincompoops of our day. In comparison to most, I’m a relatively positive guy. I truly do look for the best in people and want to believe that they are honest and truthful, but the fact is that humanity as a whole and individuals in particular, seem to be a mess.
At the writing of this article, I have lived on this planet for 25,254 days outside of my mother’s womb and from my perspective, longevity and experience, mankind is not improving but is declining rapidly.
Meanness and madness seem to be the defining characteristics of this era. Reason and truth have been replaced with circumlocution and ambiguous uncertainty and self-centered authority. Standards for decency, morality and ethics have been jettisoned for what appears to be a free for all rugby match of “if it feels good do it”, with no rules.
Every year during the Christmas season, Sabrina and I watch an inordinate amount of Christmas movies, and I read 10 to 15 Christmas themed books. (OK! We like Christmas. Don’t be hatin’ on us.) It is during this period that I read and watch various adaptations of A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. Some may argue differently, but I am fully convinced that A Christmas Carol is a Christian allegory.
In this novella that was first published December 19th, 1843, Mr. Dickens was writing to address and to expose the depravity and self-centeredness of man, and how we must have an inward change of heart that is evident in an outward transformation of our actions, attitudes and demeanor. To not do so would leave us in a state of condemnation that would end in an eternal punishment in which there would be great distress and suffering.
Today society has taught us to deflect and blame others for our maladies and missteps. Our failures are not our fault, nor the result of some internal flaw but they are the direct result of others, especially those with whom we do not agree or who may hold a different world view. No matter what popular opinion may proclaim, it is our own sin-pocked past that haunts us today. It is not the sins of others and not the failures of friends and family but our very own actions and attitudes that condemn us. Contrary to popular belief, mankind is not really “good at heart.”
Humans have been Scrooged since we first walked in the cool and comfort of God's garden where we could bask in the warmth of His love and provision. We rejected His love and disobeyed His commands. As a result, our souls now live in separation, isolation, and loneliness. Miserable, cold, and hard. No peace with God. No peace with mankind and certainly no peace within.
The truth is that deep within each of us resides the sin-cankered soul of an Ebenezer Scrooge. Peering out the ice-covered window of our spirit, it glares with disgust and hate at the precious and beautiful Gift of Christmas. Those who hate true Christmas do so because they hate the true God. This rejection and hatred is revealed in actions and attitudes. It is the result of being Scrooged.
Our society has little by little pushed the hope of Christmas aside. It has said no to the wonderful gift of a Savior. It is my prayer that every Christian would seize the opportunity to share the Hope found in Christmas, and bring every man, woman, boy or girl into the warmth of our Fathers forgiveness through the Gift of Jesus our Savior.
The good news is that it does not take four different ghosts and a long winter's night to bring us to a time of transformation and salvation. All it takes is personally receiving the Gift of a baby born in a manger who would pay for our sins on a cross and offer us eternal life.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tim Patterson is Executive Director/Treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Elected unanimously in May of 2015, Patterson formerly served for 9 years as pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla. He also served as trustee chair and national mobilizer for the North American Mission Board.