Ah, was a great live show held last night at church – always a tidbit of insight to be gained from the re-hearing of a classic tale. I have seen Scrooge – a Christmas Carol – a thousand times – but this one man portrayal last night by Gerald Dickens, the great great grandson of Charles Dickens, was amazing of course – and so I have to take time to write this new devotion due to a couple small sprinkles of “new to me” verbiage – because the artist portraying all the characters was faithful to the original text which is usually omitted from the glitz productions. It was the line “and God love it” that perked my ears – God loves the turning of hearts – God loves every little mini smile that becomes the biggest heart gushes – us turning to Him – that’s what God loves… Scrooge is a redemption story certainly – and it has solid bible teachings underlying the text that always intrigued me – as I always have my radar up for scripture subtly added into seemingly secular situations… but it turns out that it was written not in secular times but in times that were faith- filled – faith was publicly displayed as tremendously important in day to day living.
Here’s my devotion – thanks all for letting me continue to share my writings.
And God Love It, 04Dec
A Christmas Carol is a Christian Christ-mas story, of course, and this story does cross different faiths as well. Dickens has the ability to teach, reach and awaken and certainly to entertain in this timeless classic – it’s scripture in story – the best way to perk the ears of the world – Jesus used this classic method as well in His parables – God knows we LOVE a good story with a happy ending…
My favorite of the Dickens’ ghosts is the Ghost of Christmas Present – “the like of which you have never seen before” – that is because every Christmas is new and renewed – each Ghost (“more than 1800” are more than 2000 now) brings the rebirth of SPIRIT that is a blessing to every turned heart – to each reborn in the LIGHT of Christ … making life fresh and renewed again… Dickens knew improving the lot of life of all the world is what Christmas is all about – Christmas is about finding the lost and saving the world one soul at a time – the Ghost of Christmas present is Dickens’ heartfelt reminder to find PEACE on earth that is in Christmas – that is FROM Christmas… And a few times the text reminds us about the founder of Christmas – redemption is 100% possible due to Christ’s birth, death and resurrection.
The text that peaked my interest today is about the Ghost of Christmas Present’s torch – not only did this ghost’s torch shed the LIGHT for Scrooge to see – it SHARED the LIGHT in a fantastical way – the torch shared physical light – scented light – and liquid light – the sight, smell and taste of Christ… This performance by Gerald Dickens – as well as the original text – mentions the Ghost sprinkling incense on people arguing in the streets to make them of good humor and sharing water drops from His torch (living water from Light?) giving needed relief to the poorest of souls – all these things causing the people to become more friendly jovial and full of LIGHT at Christmas. – here is the text: “sprinkled incense on their dinners from his torch. And it was a very uncommon kind of torch, for once or twice when there were angry words between some dinner-carriers who had jostled each other, he shed a few drops of water on them from it, and their good humour was restored directly. For they said, it was a shame to quarrel upon Christmas Day. And so it was. God love it, so it was.”
The phrase: “And so it was. God love it, so it was” – yeah that sent mini chills because I had never heard that line from and of the many adaptations – and this time I heard it LOUD AND CLEAR because it was confirming that God LOVES “good humor” and God loves PEACE on Earth at Christmas and all days – because that is why He Himself sent Jesus in the first place… Another great line reminds us to take care of the children as Jesus Himself, the founder of Christmas, came as a child.
I had the privilege to discuss with Gerald Dickens (minutes before the show) that the Christmas Carol was written for the Scrooge redemption story of course – but truly it was really written to awaken the people of the era to the awful plight of the poor and the poorest children… that Christmas of all times is when we can repent and repair our ways and make the world better – starting in our own villages – the world needed and needs redemption (and we know the greatest Redeemer. Yes, and Scrooge needed Him too)…
People do remember that Jesus came at Christmas – but we pray that the world would all really remember WHY He came… I am reminded now from a chat with my biblical professor in the midst of my early awakening (two years ago this week) that advent is mini-lent – to reflect on that fact that Jesus HAD TO COME – because we were and we are LOST – and that there is such sorrow in the lost souls – the cries Jesus had as a baby (as singer Michael Card speculated about when he wrote “What Her Heart Remembered”) and again as a man (from Lazarus scripture “Jesus Wept”) must have been so deep for the loss of souls – so many souls – so little time… Jesus wept… Sorrow in His witness of so many lost.
The Ghost of Christmas Present converses with Scrooge about what is in the torch – a bible teaching is underlying this text as the Spirit sprinkles the Spirit on the poorest of meals – it is a hint to Beatitude “Blessed are the Poor in Spirit – for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven”…
Another bible teaching is shared in the next few lines – that the Spirit world is not responsible for the evil in the world – that the SPIRIT brings LIGHT and LIFE – that people sadly do evil as if “they had never lived” – it is so clear that LIGHT and LIFE stems from Jesus – and His teachings… Endless bible scriptures point to the evil we should avoid… At Christmas and always, we are to focus His LIGHT that shines in the darkness – this is how we are able to LIVE and LOVE:
Obviously, there are so many more biblical teachings that are threaded in this timeless Dickens’ tale – that is not a surprise knowing the era of Dickens – but the last one that I will write about is the image of the two children hidden under the Ghost of Christmas Present’s robe – Ignorance and Want – the worst being the boy – “WANT” because “DOOM” is written on his face – yeah that is why Jesus came in a nutshell – because the world and its trappings has doomed people. This is due to no fault of their own but to original sin but then doom continues due to their ignorance – they will be the branches cast into the fire shriveled up dead without connection to the vine – these children not realizing the chance of redemption, of gaining the LIGHT – until they have the realization of Christ’s redemption – of becoming the Children of God. Humankind needs the Great Redeemer that is Christ to give LIFE – and the Ghost of Christmas present wants Scrooge – and us – to know that it’s not too late to be redeemed… We need to turn to our redeeming new life with a realization that we are God’s child.
And we, like Dickens, are blessed to shed some light on the stories of mankind – seek justice – and sprinkle good humor wherever we go – not to quarrel or be in strife – we are to help our fellow man – whether we know them or not – we are to help bring LIGHT on Christmas – and everyday…
“God Bless Us – Everyone”
“And God Love it”
http://www.stormfax.com/3dickens.htm has this “original” text
But soon the steeples called good people all, to church and chapel, and away they came, flocking through the streets in their best clothes, and with their gayest faces. And at the same time there emerged from scores of bye-streets, lanes, and nameless turnings, innumerable people, carrying their dinners to the bakers’ shops. The sight of these poor revellers appeared to interest the Spirit very much, for he stood with Scrooge beside him in a baker’s doorway, and taking off the covers as their bearers passed, sprinkled incense on their dinners from his torch. And it was a very uncommon kind of torch, for once or twice when there were angry words between some dinner-carriers who had jostled each other, he shed a few drops of water on them from it, and their good humour was restored directly. For they said, it was a shame to quarrel upon Christmas Day. And so it was. God love it, so it was.
In time the bells ceased, and the bakers were shut up; and yet there was a genial shadowing forth of all these dinners and the progress of their cooking, in the thawed blotch of wet above each baker’s oven; where the pavement smoked as if its stones were cooking too.
“Is there a peculiar flavour in what you sprinkle from your torch?” asked Scrooge.
“There is. My own.”
“Would it apply to any kind of dinner on this day?” asked Scrooge.
“To any kindly given. To a poor one most.”
“Why to a poor one most?” asked Scrooge.
“Because it needs it most.”
“Spirit,” said Scrooge, after a moment’s thought, “I wonder you, of all the beings in the many worlds about us, should desire to cramp these people’s opportunities of innocent enjoyment.”
“I!” cried the Spirit.
“You would deprive them of their means of dining every seventh day, often the only day on which they can be said to dine at all,” said Scrooge. “Wouldn’t you?”
“I!” cried the Spirit.
“You seek to close these places on the Seventh Day,” said Scrooge. “And it comes to the same thing.”
“I seek!” exclaimed the Spirit.
“Forgive me if I am wrong. It has been done in your name, or at least in that of your family,” said Scrooge.
“There are some upon this earth of yours,” returned the Spirit, “who lay claim to know us, and who do their deeds of passion, pride, ill-will, hatred, envy, bigotry, and selfishness in our name, who are as strange to us and all our kith and kin, as if they had never lived. Remember that, and charge their doings on themselves, not us.”
“Oh, Man, look here! Look, look, down here!” exclaimed the Ghost.
They were a boy and a girl. Yellow, meagre, ragged, scowling, wolfish; but prostrate, too, in their humility. Where graceful youth should have filled their features out, and touched them with its freshest tints, a stale and shrivelled hand, like that of age, had pinched, and twisted them, and pulled them into shreds. Where angels might have sat enthroned, devils lurked, and glared out menacing. No change, no degradation, no perversion of humanity, in any grade, through all the mysteries of wonderful creation, has monsters half so horrible and dread.
Scrooge started back, appalled. Having them shown to him in this way, he tried to say they were fine children, but the words choked themselves, rather than be parties to a lie of such enormous magnitude.
“Spirit, are they yours?” Scrooge could say no more.
“They are Man’s,” said the Spirit, looking down upon them. “And they cling to me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased. Deny it!” cried the Spirit, stretching out its hand towards the city. “Slander those who tell it ye. Admit it for your factious purposes, and make it worse. And abide the end.”