One of the most well-known and beloved stories in relation to the Christmas season is “The Christmas Carol”. It was written in a matter of six weeks by author Charles Dickens. It was first published on December 18th, 1843, and after 179 years, it is still a best seller. What is it about this work of fiction that is so intriguing to people, even after all this time? I believe the answer for many is the answer for myself. The redemption of Ebeneezer Scrooge. I’ve found that, generally, people find joy in the redemption of others.
The story starts by painting Scrooge as a selfish, emotionless, hateful, loner whose main motivation seems to be his love for money. He has a money lending business that he used to share with his now-deceased partner, and it is run in a manner where money doesn’t go out. His bookkeepers barely make a living wage, he doesn’t heat the facilities, he doesn’t support charities and it seems that every Christmas he reluctantly gives his bookkeepers the day off, but only due to no other business being open so no one will be doing business. Scrooge also has a response to anything positive with one phrase, “Ba-Humbug!” It’s made clear that any encounter with Ebeneezer Scrooge is not a pleasant one.
In the bulk of the story, Scrooge will be visited by three ghosts which take him on journeys throughout the story. The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Future. Scrooge will revisit the events from the past that made him hate Christmas. He would see what that year’s Christmas will be like for him and others, including his head bookkeeper, Bob Cratchit. Finally, Ebeneezer gets to see the legacy he will leave behind on Christmas after his death. It’s clear that if Ebeneezer doesn’t change his ways, everyone’s situation is worse including Bob Cratchit who will lose his son, Tiny Tim.
Scrooge has a change of heart though and flips 180 degrees in his behavior. His motivation in money changes. He gives away his wealth to charities and the poor, he supports his bookkeepers, he raises Bob Cratchit’s salary and pays off his mortgage, among many other things. He is kind, shows emotion, desires time with family, and most of all, realizes he’s been wrong and asks for forgiveness from others. And that’s why so many people for generations around the world have loved this story. They see a man who doesn’t deserve redemption ask for it and receive it.
This Christmas season, may we remember that we received redemption through Christ after we saw the results of our own death and redemption was given to us. May we remember that redemption isn’t just for the young or the old but for everyone. That God sent Jesus to us for the purpose of being redeemed to Him and, at this time of year when this act of love is on our hearts and minds, that we make it our goal to show that we are new people, redeemed people because we may just have an effect on those around us.