It’s true that we like to focus, in this season, on THE baby in a manger – and rightly so. But when He came into this realm, His focus was on you and on me. All individuals are so valuable, in fact, that He took on flesh to then offer it up – a great price paid, each one unique, each with special gifts and callings, each with a purpose.
During final rehearsals for “A Christmas Carol” (based on the novella by Charles Dickens), a speech of Jacob Marley’s was highlighted to me. In case you have not seen the show or need a refresher, Jacob Marley was Ebenezer Scrooge’s former partner and died seven years ago on Christmas Eve. He comes (as a ghost) to visit Ebenezer in the night on this particular Christmas Eve as the story unfolds.
Marley is speaking of his regrets in life in the hope of convincing Scrooge to look again at his chosen path. Scrooge remarks to Marley, “But you were always a good man of business, Jacob,” to which Marley responds:
“Business! Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”
Marley, now aware of the true purpose of his life, had discovered that his true and authentic self was more than the one his life displayed. He had realized that he was created to be charitable, merciful, and generous. In life, he was positioned for it, he was resourced for it, yet in the actual living, he missed it. He desperately tried to reach his friend and partner with this realized truth.
In taking a closer look at Ebenezer Scrooge himself, we can see in the story that he started out better, was on a good path, but something happened. His true and intended identity was twisted and/or somehow diverted, as he began to believe things about himself that were not true. His name, Ebenezer, is a Hebrew name that means “stone of help”. Yet, he was not living out his true identity.
Of course, in the end, Scrooge, had his eyes “opened” to “see” his true and intended self, and he chose to turn himself around. He recaptures joy. The novella speaks of him finding his ability to laugh again: “For a man who had been out of practice for so many years, it was a splendid laugh, a most illustrious laugh. The father of a long, long line of brilliant laughs!”
It is so refreshing to see Scrooge’s ending. And although he himself is a work of fiction, he could be you or I when it comes to choices in life that may be based in a fiction of our own making, or, perhaps one that was wrongly spoken over us. What “fiction” do we believe about ourselves that is less than that for which we were created? Are we willing to let our own “eyes” be opened to the “good report” for which the price has already been paid?
Marley and Scrooge are still speaking this lesson with their story all these many years later. You (and I) are beautifully and wonderfully made, His masterpieces. The value of each individual life, brimming with purpose and hope, is His reason for “The Season”.