It’s hard to believe Christmas is less than a month away. One of my favorite Christmas stories, obviously other than the actual Christmas story, is Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Many know that Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol, but few know the personal cost Dickens took to get his message out. Dickens began writing his “little carol” in October 1843 finishing it by the end of November in time to be published for Christmas with illustrations and all. He fought with his publishers to get the book printed and distributed. Finally, Dickens himself financed the publishing of the book, ordering lavish binding, gilt edging, and hand-colored illustrations. In spite of the significant cost, he insisted on setting the price at 5 shillings so that everyone could afford it. In the first few days of its release, the book sold six thousand copies (a tremendous amount in the 1800’s), and its popularity continues to grow today.
Dickens wrote his story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a mean-spirited man, to show how the power of Christ can transform our lives, as well as, use the transformed to bring significant change to the world. God offers transformation to each of us, but we must receive it. Our response to Christmas (meaning the celebration of Christ), our response to Christ determines whether or not we will experience Christ’s love and power through salvation in Him and transformation by His Spirit.
In one of the opening scenes of A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge responds to Christ as a humbug, as something designed to deceive or mislead. Scrooge’s nephew, Fred, visits him at his office to invite him to Christmas dinner. Fred responds to Christ by treasuring the gift of life and pondering all the good blessings he received from the Lord. We also discover that Scrooge’s mistreated clerk Bob Cratchit responds to Christ with hope and a willingness to speak the truth of Christ’s love to others.
When we explore the true first Christmas account, we also discover a variety of responses to Christ. Herod the Great saw Christ as a rival and responded horrifically (Matt 2:1-3). Mary, Jesus’ mother, had received the news of Christ’s birth from an angel and from that moment ventured on an unexpected faith journey. When Jesus was born, Luke records, “Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). Then, we have the shepherds who were the first recorded to hear of Christ’s birth. Upon hearing the news, they visit the Christ child. As they leave to return to the fields, we read they left, “glorifying and praising God” (Luke 2:20).
I would pose the real question is not how others, whether fictional or real, respond to Christ, but how you and I will respond. Will we respond to Christ as a humbug, someone other than our loving Lord and Savior? Will we respond to Christ by treasuring the gift of life and pondering all the good blessings received from Him? Or, will we respond to Christ with hope and willingness to speak the truth of Christ’s love to others? I ask you: How will you respond to Christ this Christmas season?
I pray this Christmas you and I will receive Christ as Savior and share His love and message with others. I pray that our celebration of Christ will be infectious. It is worth whatever cost to get the good news out to everyone. Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God Alone)!