Summary: We can't control what each day brings. So,what has God done for you up to this point in your life?
Today we find ourselves in the time between the celebration of Christmas and the beginning of a New Year. Some of us may not be quite ready to let go of Christmas just yet. Perhaps your decorations are still up. So I will give you today a blend of two holidays, Christmas and New Years.
This Christmas we played a game where you had to give clues to a person with a cell phone pressed against their head. The cell phone had a holiday theme displayed on the screen. The person with the cell phone had to guess what the word or words were based on people screaming clues at them. Nothing more festive than adding chaos to a family gathering.
So today we will begin with some quotes from Christmas and you guess who said or what movie it may have been from. Ready? “What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more." ~ The Grinch
“You'll shoot your eye out, kid.” - Santa in the Christmas story
“It's a membership to the Jelly of the Month Club.” - Clark Griswold
“First we'll make snow angels for two hours, then we'll go ice skating, then we'll eat an entire roll of Toll House cookie dough as fast as we can, and then to finish, we'll snuggle!" - Elf
“Ho, ho, ho.” - Santa
“Bah Humbug” - Ebenezer Scrooge
The last two were really easy, weren’t they? The joy of Santa and the bitterness of Ebenezer Scrooge. Both of there characters are exemplified in two of my favorite Christmas movies; “The Miracle on 34th Street” and “The Christmas Carol.” Now in keeping with our theme today let’s look at “The Christmas Carol.” The main character is Ebenezer Scrooge. His name is quite interesting. Ebenezer is actually a Hebrew name meaning “stone of help” Scrooge was an English variation of a word meaning “to squeeze or press.” Listen to how Charles Dickens, the writer of “The Christmas Carol” describes him.
“Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grind-stone, Scrooge! A squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shriveled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. A frosty rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin. He carried his own low temperature always about with him; he iced his office in the dog days; and didn't thaw it one degree at Christmas.”
Did you notice all the words associated with squeezing? Tight-fisted, clutching, covetous, no generosity, and cold. The two things we learn in the story is that he squeezed his money in a tight fist and he squeezed his heart, suffocating his own soul, with a greedy obsession to gain more.
Yet his first name meant “stone of help.” His first name is only mentioned three times in the story. Once by his deceased partner, Marley, again by his former boss in a vision from a visit with the first ghost, and finally on his tombstone.
If you know the story than you know it takes place on Christmas Eve. Scrooge is visited by four ghosts; his former partner and the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future.
The Ghost of Christmas Past is the ghost of Scrooge’s past. He shows Scrooge his boyhood. He sees himself as a child and he is happy. He remembers what it was like to have been a joyous young man with hopes and dreams. He learns what is missing in his life. He sees himself alone at school, happy as an apprentice and fiancé, and then dumped. When his fiancé Belle dumps him because he cares more about money than her, Scrooge starts on a long path that led to where he is now.
The Ghost of Christmas Present picks up where Past let off. He wants to teach Scrooge the same lesson. He wants to show him that he can change. The first sprit showed him he was not always this way, and the second one will show him what he’s missing. The second spirit shows him that he is now something of a tyrant and that his behavior makes problems for other people. It also shows him that people can be happy without having as much money as Scrooge wants to have. He takes Scrooge to see how other people act and speak of him. He shows Scrooge the love that the Cratchets have for one another despite having no money. He also sees their need for help for their son, Tiny Tim. Scrooge learns to see the balance between money and family.