Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35) – but how many of us really believe that?
Certainly not Ebenezer Scrooge, the infamous miser of “A Christmas Carol.” Charles Dickens, his creator, described him as “hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire.” When his amiable nephew visits him in his frosty office on Christmas Eve, Scrooge growls, “What right have you to be merry? what reason have you to be merry? You’re poor enough.” For Scrooge, it was all about making money, but to no end except to hoard it.
Many of us believe that having more money will make us happier. However, a November 10, 2014 Wall Street Journal article indicates that wealth alone does not guarantee a better life. The key is how the money is used: “For instance, giving money away makes people a lot happier than lavishing it on themselves.”
Three spirits eventually show Scrooge the error of his stingy ways. At the end of the story, he roams the streets of London, as “light as a feather and happy as an angel,” patting children on the head, chatting with beggars, buying a prize turkey for his long-suffering employee, Bob Cratchit, and his family.
How beautifully appropriate that Scrooge discovered joy on Christmas Day, the celebration of Christ’s birth. As Paul wrote to Titus, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all…” (Titus 2:11). Christmas is not a day; it is the wondrous event of divine grace becoming human flesh. Pure Love appeared like the rising of the sun over a gloomy horizon, bringing the warm rays of God’s light. Heavenly grace was born, grew, ate, walked, taught, slept — and ultimately gave His life for us. To see the beauty of Jesus, to taste His love, to contemplate His wounds, to share His compassion: this is what brings joy!
Old Scrooge vowed to honor Christmas in his heart and keep it every day of the year. May we all take a lesson from a man whose misery turned to mirth when he discovered the gift of joy on Christmas morning.