Sunday, December 27, Christmas & Feast of the Holy Family

During this season, I go to see Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol” with friends.  It has become a tradition, and I never grow tired of its message.  Each year, a line or word will hit me with new insight.  This year was no exception. 

It was what Scrooge’s nephew said that caught my ear.  It happens near the beginning of the play when Fred speaks about the good derived from celebrating Christmas; that it profits us by keeping it.  To Scrooge, it’s all “Humbug!”  Each year, I smile at his reaction; sometimes I laugh.  Yet, it saddens me as I   see the true nature behind this humbug attitude.  Scrooge is as hurt and wounded as the rest of us.   And he spends a lifetime wallowing in the hurt that sours and isolates him.  Scrooge needs a dose of love.  When his nephew tries to do just that, he’s pushed away with heartless words and a scowl. (Why does Trump come to mind?)  Do we not see something of ourselves?   We can do this same thing to others in more subtle ways; at times to God who, like this nephew, persists in loving us.

Fred sees Christmas “as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time…when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.”

To open our shut-up hearts and think of people as fellow passengers.  Is this not the message Christ brought when he walked this earth, and what God reveals in Christ born in time; naked and small, a fellow passenger to the grave and swaddled in our flesh?

All of us, really, are in the same boat.  In “Finding Beauty in a Broken World” by T.T. Williams I read these words; graffiti on a collapsed building in Rwanda:  “Strip us of our skin and we are all the same within.”

Does not the birth of Christ want to strip us of those ways we devalue one another, as did Scrooge before he was awakened by those Spirits, making him see the true nature of things?  He saw what we must see:  that we are fellow passengers.  We are responsible for one another; swaddled in the same flesh as we are.  We are brought naked into this world and we will leave this world stripped of everything.  What we do in the meantime is what matters in the end.  Scrooge’s nephew says that though keeping Christmas “has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it.”

We are on this earth to do good and to make this earth, our Common Home, a better place.  To bless it and those who are our fellow passengers here.  Scrooge had it wrong:  life isn’t about getting rich.  That will only leave us isolated and alone.  In this world of Isis and tragedy, where, daily, we see the tragic flood of refugees seeking a better life, we need the message of Christ’s Birth played out in Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol” more than ever because a Scrooge mentality seems to have the upper hand right now, along with irrational fear.  This breeds only more darkness and plays into the devil’s hand.  We need, once again, the angels’ light and song of peace.  Like the newborn Scrooge, may we honor Christmas in our hearts and “try to keep it all the year.”  And, as Tiny Tim observed, “God bless us, every one!” 

My wishes for a Blessed Christmas to all of you!

 

Father Tim Clark, Pastor

 

 
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