Lessons from a Christmas Carol
In Dickens’ classic Christmas Carol, Scrooge spies two wretched children in the skirts of the Spirit of Christmas Present. Scrooge asks the spirit, “Are they yours?”
'They are Man's,' said the Spirit….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.
Doom born of Ignorance. If Dickens read our news and walked our streets, he would see that doom coming to pass. Ignorance of God’s ways, of God’s Word, of God Himself is bludgeoning our culture into a slow-motion train-wreck frightful to behold. Hosea saw a similar doom born of ignorance 2700 years ago:
There is no truth or mercy or knowledge of God in the land…My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…. Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children…They do not direct their deeds toward turning to their God, for the spirit of harlotry is in their midst, and they do not know the LORD. (Hos. 4:1, 6; 5:4)
We joke about ignorant people or dismiss ignorance as inconsequential, but in fact ignorance decimates! “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hos. 4:6). Nations, cities, families, men and women, boys and girls, wither and perish by ignorance. In such desperate times, Hosea offers healing and hope:
Come, and let us return to the LORD; for He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up. Let us know, Let us pursue the knowledge of the LORD. His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, like the latter and former rain to the earth.
When we store God’s Word in our heart, we “pursue the knowledge of the LORD.” Let us be careful to know Him, not just about Him, lest we fall into error of those unwilling to come to Him (John 5:39-40). God’s Word reveals who God is, what He is like what He may be depended on to do and say. Preaching to Cornelius, Peter said, “To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins” (Acts 10:43). To believe on Him and receive forgiveness is the best educational answer to the worst moral and spiritual ignorance. And in us, as in Scrooge in Dickens’ Carol, knowledge of Christ leads to repentance, forgiveness, life, and joy.
Scrooge was better than his word…Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them… Ever afterwards… it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God Bless Us, Every One!
- Thanks for these good words, Jim.