Marley was dead, to begin with – there’s no doubt about that. He was as dead as a doornail. With these opening words, Charles Dickens introduced an old man whose very name is synonymous with greed and miserly. It is clear from the beginning of A Christmas Carol that Ebenezer Scrooge’s addiction to money had paralyzed him spiritually. There was no love, no feeling in him. He was cheap, stingy and miserable to the core.
But all that changes in barely 24 hours as Scrooge becomes spiritually transformed into a man of unbridled, enthusiastic generosity. What happened? On that Christmas Eve, Scrooge was visited by three ghosts who showed him a vision of his life: past, present and future. That night Scrooge experienced a real intervention. And a grumpy old man wakes up the next morning, driven by a spirit of generosity.
It is an amazing story of redemption and transformation. A story that we all need to be reminded of from time to time. You will have the opportunity to learn more about Scrooge during the 9:15 Sunday School hour during the Sundays of Advent. Dr. Keith Jenkins will be teaching Scrooge Reborn in The Chapel of the Resurrection. I have known Keith for more years that I can count, and I promise you he will bring Scrooge to life. I am looking forward to learning more about Scrooge together!
I have thought about Scrooge this past week, not only because of the upcoming class, but because of our Crossing the Threshold stewardship campaign. I have studied the transformation Scrooge experienced so that perhaps we could be inspired to experience the same type of transformation. I don’t expect any of us to be visited by ghosts that will scare us or guilt us into making a financial commitment to the Church. But, I do pray that the Spirit of Christ will speak to each of us and transform us into men and women with a generous giving spirit.
You know, I do believe Scrooge was an addict to money, but after that Christmas Eve he became addicted to something else. The addiction was no longer money; it was giving, generous and extravagant giving. I hope we all become addicted to that!