Do You Know Ebenezer Scrooge?
This is the time of year when our younger children are most excited. There is a feeling of Christmas in the air. The stores are full of Christmas decorations and “potential” presents for anyone on our Christmas list. The radio stations are playing all of our favorite Christmas carols while the television stations show the Christmas cartoons and movies that we love so much. I personally, being born in December, love this time of year. The cold weather, the snow (when we get snow), putting up decorations, shopping “on-line” for presents, since I hate going to the malls and yes, all of the cakes and pies. This is my time of year. I look forward every year to having a couple of weeks off and can totally give my time to my family. For me, as the song says, “it a most wonderful time of the year.”
However, for some people this is not the case. Do you realize that the suicide rates increase during this time of year? More people get depressed and despondent during the Christmas season than any other holiday. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that it is cold and sometimes gloomy, I do not know. But whatever the cause, there are some among us that would rather this season come and go as quickly as possible. I cannot tell you what this person looks, but they are out there. They get very little out of this time of year or they find this time of year to be very distressing. Maybe they lost a loved one during this time of year, or it could be that they have hurtful memories of Christmas past. Whatever the reason, there are many people who do not share what we call the “spirit of Christmas”. You could be sitting beside someone who feels this way and never know it. You see, these people have put up so many walls and “fake identities” that you would think they are just as happy about this time of year as you are.
I. Walls of Life
Everyone in this room deals with walls everyday. Walls are used to protect, hide, divide and enclose. They are also used to support – as in the walls that support the roofs on our homes. There are two types of walls I want to mention this morning, physical walls and emotional walls.
• Physical Walls. The physical walls offer protection, privacy, support and comfort. They are also used to intimidate those on the outside of the walls. Remember the story of Joshua and the battle of Jericho as found in Joshua 6? The people of Jericho had built a wall around their city that was 35 feet high and slanted so that their enemies could not climb over it. It was a very intimidating wall, so wide that chariots raced on top of it. That wall gave them comfort that the Children of Israel would not be able to conquer them. All of their previous enemies had turned away when they could not get over the wall. However, their assumption about the Children of Israel was wrong. The Children of Israel had someone extra working with them – someone who specializes in bringing down walls. You know how the story ends, the walls came down. Physical walls are often put up in response to the emotional walls that we have already put up around us.
• Emotional Walls. Emotional walls are often erected in response to something happening to us that we do not want repeated. They are often put up after we have experienced some type of hurt that we never want to repeat. Everyone in this room, or who is reading this message has some walls that were erected around us to protect us. If you have ever said “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me” you have some walls up. If you have been hurt and you are operating in preservation mode, you have some walls up. These walls keep others out while at the same time place us in bondage. Just as others cannot get in because of the walls, we are unable to get out – our own wall traps us.
I want to ask you are question this morning – “Do You Know Ebenezer Scrooge?” Many of us know the story “A Christmas Carol”. It is a story of redemption and salvation. It is a story about hurts being healed and second chances. It is a story about walls coming down. My message this morning focuses on Ebenezer and the walls that he put up to protect himself and how he learned to bring the walls down and live.