Perspectives on Stewardship

Spirit of Christmas or Bah Humbug?

Posted by Kent Anderson on

When I was a child, each Christmas eve my father would read to our family, starting with the story of Christ’s birth from Luke 2, and then would follow with reading Charles Dickens’ famous novel A Christmas Carol.

Of course, there is nothing sacred about the Christmas Carol. Yet it is obvious that Dicken’s intention with the story was to illustrate the spirit of love and compassion as expressed and inspired by the gift of Jesus (II Corinthians 9:15) that first Christmas.

Although it was a fun tradition, if you’re familiar with the Christmas Carol story, you’ll recall that it starts out a bit dark:

“Marley was dead to begin with...dead as a doornail.”.

As the story unfolds, Marley’s business partner in life, Ebenezer Scrooge, was shown the error of his miserly ways. Through the story Scrooge is shown as being interested only in his business affairs, counting his money, and giving no mind to sharing with those in need, coldly asking “Are there no poor houses?”

Even as a child I remember thinking how mean and greedy Ebenezer Scrooge was. Didn’t he care about Tiny Tim? It’s interesting that as a society we’ve even come to adopt Scrooge’s name as an insult, using it to describe anyone who is seen to be miserly or greedy, lacking in generosity.

When Marley visits Scrooge, he tries to convince Scrooge not to repeat the mistake
he made living a greedy, self-serving life, describing for Scrooge the chain of heavy
iron cash boxes that he must now carry and drag behind him for eternity:

“I wear the chain I forged in life. I forged it link by link, yard by yard, of my own free will. I walked through crowds of fellow human beings with my eyes turned down and never raised them to that blessed Star which led the Wise Men to a poor abode. Were there no homes to which that light would have conducted me?”

Scrooge’s famous response was “Bah Humbug.”
Fortunately the Christmas Carol ends on a brighter note than it starts with Scrooge finally seeing the error of his ways. In the end it describes him as “becoming as good
a friend...as good a man, as the good old city knew...knowing how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge.”, ending with the encouragement
“May that truly be said of all of us.”

In this most precious time of year, when we focus our attention on celebrating the birth and gift of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, just as the Star led the Wise Men to the poor abode of Christ’s birth, will we allow the Lord to open and guide our eyes to see those around us who are less fortunate, where we can perhaps offer help or assistance?

Hebrews 13 tells us:
“Do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”

And in the book of James we are told:
“The Christian who is pure and without fault, from God the Father’s point of view, is the one who takes care of orphans and widows and who remains true to the Lord. ...Yes indeed, it is good when you truly obey the Lord’s command, “You must love and help your neighbors just as you love and care for yourself.”

Of course being good and generous and acts of kindness do not save us. Salvation comes only through faith in Christ. But loving and caring for those around us is both an act of obedience to God’s command, and is pleasing to God, reflecting His love and care to those around us - as words alone will never do.

So, at this wonderful season of the year, let us be mindful of those who are less fortunate, sharing both the precious story of Christ’s birth - and sharing to help meet the needs of those around us, tangibly reflecting God’s love and generosity to the world. May it be said of us that we keep Christmas well.

Are there homes where the Lord has perhaps directed your attention to share His love and be His light? If you would like help in finding ways to help others who may need assistance, please feel free to call the church.

More to come…

Do you have questions about managing your finances from a Biblical perspective?
For help and guidance feel free to call Kent Anderson at (239)596-8600 x254.

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