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Then Marley asked Scrooge, "Is its pattern strange to you? Or would you know the weight and length of the strong coil you bear yourself? It was full as heavy and as long as this seven Christmas Eves ago. You have laboured on it since. It is a ponderous chain!" (END OF SUMMARY.)]
6. Before I comment on the film clip, I need to mention that while I do not subscribe to Dickens’s speculations about the afterlife--there is no biblical theology that human spirits are condemned to roam the earth as penance--we can still appreciate his message.
So today I want you to think about Breaking Christmas Chains in your life And the first question I want to ask you is:
A. What are the chains that bind you?
1. Chains, chains, nothing but chains. Marley has condemned himself to spend eternity hauling around the chains of his past. No peace, no freedom, no joy.
a. Is it strange to any of us? We all carry with us the consequences of the choices we have made in our past.
Think of some of the humbugs that are pressing on you now. (Be honest. Take a moment and offer them to the Lord.)
a. Let me see if I can identify some of the humbugs that chain us all:
1) unrealistic expectations fueled by commercialism--especially from our children--which leads to financial issues
2) past family hurts
3) overcrowded schedules that lead to family tensions, either at home or with our in-laws
4) loneliness because a loved one is gone
c. When you think of these things, sometimes “Humbug” is all we can say.
d. Like Scrooge, we need to look within ourselves to see why we have let our circumstances chain us to the wounds of the past and the unrealistic pressures of the present.
2. The tragedy is that Scrooge was not always the hard-hearted, miserly, self-centered curmudgeon we now see. Once he was loving, giving, filled with hope. Once he was happy. What happened?
a. He became chained to his own hurt and resentment. He came to believe that life’s business was all about himself. Remember during the 40 Days of Purpose we said it was all about God? Scrooge apparently had not learned this.
b. The result? He’s a mean, miserable old man, sitting alone in his cold, drafty room, eating a bowl of gruel on Christmas Eve.
3. Marley learned too late that Christmas is not about us. It’s about caring for others.
“… 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?”
4. Scripture reveals there was also a Scrooge in the Christmas story: King Herod.
a. Herod, too, was a man bound by the chains of wealth and power; he believed the world revolved around him.
b. Like Scrooge, Herod had unexpected visitors who came to him one night with a message--the three wise men.
1) Herod was also frightened by his visitors’ message when they
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