Summary: Part 1 of a series based on Dickens’ "A Christmas Carol"
Slide 1—Advent Candles
Welcome, to the beginning of our Christmas Celebration here at Bethany. This is the first Sunday in Advent—which means we are begiining a look forward to clebrating both the first and seconding coming of Christ. I’m Pastor Don and I’m especially honored to have guests with us today. I hope you will find this service meaningful to you as we begin to celebrate Christmas.
Today we begin Humbug to Halleujah—this will be our theme throughout the month of December for all of our Christmas activities.
In the Bible, one of the writers of the New Testament, Titus, speaks of Christ’s journey to the Cradle, and from the cradle to the cross.
From Titus, the second chapter,: “For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people.”
1. Now and then a story has the spark of divine inspiration. It’s not the word of God, but it has a word from God that causes us to look at our lives differently. I think the work by Charles Dickens helps in this regard—A Christmas Carol.
MOST EVERYBODY HAS SEEN AT LEAST ONE VERSION OF THE CHRISTMAS CAROL. Who has seen the Muppet version? It will be presented this month as a live theatre presentation at the Blackfriars Theater in Staunton.
I’m going to use the movie version of this work, during this Advent and Christmas to try to help you see what it has to say about the true
meaning of Christmas for your life.
The central figure of The Christmas Carol is Ebenezer Scrooge... His very name "scrooge" stands for the worst in human nature.
8:30 Show quote from PA 8 Slide
SHOW VIDEO CLIP 9:27-12:25—Visit from Fred inviting Scrooge to Christmas dinner
a. As we just saw in the video clip, He calls Christmas a “humbug” and spreads his Christmas sneer to everyone he encounters.
To Scrooge, Christmas is “a time for finding yourself another year older and not an hour richer.”
b. At times, we know exactly what Scrooge means. How many of you are already feeling overwhelmed by all you have to do to get ready for Christmas?
c. Let’s say “Humbug” now to get it out of our system! Say it with me HAMBUG!!!
2. It’s easy to fall into a humbug attitude when the pressures of Christmas overwhelm you. This attitude is like a tightening chain around your chest; it squeezes the joy of Christmas out of your heart.
So as we prepare for this Christmas, I want to help you think about changing your humbugs to hallelujahs.
a. We’ll be taking a journey through A Christmas Carol and seeing what we can learn from Scrooge about Christmas.
b. Scrooge’s Christmas journey was not one he had planned. It came upon him unexpectedly, and it changed his life. And maybe your Christmas journey this year will be an unexpected one.
It all began when he returned home one Christmas Eve.
8:30 SERVICE: Watch what happens.
(SHOW VIDEO CLIP 21:40 to 27:20—Scrooge hears Marley’s footsteps and end with Marley pointing out window.)
[READ SUMMARY DURING 11:00 SERVICE: Scrooge reached his front door and was frightened to see the face of his dead business partner, Jacob Marley, staring back at him from the door knocker. Shaken, he hurried to his bedroom and got his bowl of gruel. Suddenly, his ghostly business partner, Marley, entered the room and confronted the terrified Scrooge.
When the frightening specter of Marley’s ghost confronts the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge, he is weighed down with a long, heavy chain. "It was long, and wound about him like a tail; and it was made (for Scrooge observed it closely) of cash-boxes, keys, padlocks, ledgers, deeds, and heavy purses wrought in steel." When Scrooge inquired about the chain, Marley replied, "I wear the chain I forged in life. I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it."
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: