What did I learn from God this week?
Well, this week the audio book of “The Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens arrived in the mail from our local library. The boys and I listened to it in the car and it is such a powerful story. I love the movies, but I had never read the book. I must say, the book is better. But I didn’t realize how scary it is! A perfect Halloween story actually, although my boys were a bit creeped out and needed some extra TLC from Mom as we walked with Scrooge through his adventures. Strangely, it was Sweet Boy#3 who loved it the most and kept asking to listen to it at bedtime. Something that the older boys wisely pointed out was a bad idea, since it is basically a ghost story.
Now this story is an old one. The rich oppressor gaining a glimpse of what his life has wrought upon others. Jesus told this same story several times. The rich man and Lazarus in Luke chapter 16 and the story of the rich man and his new barns in Luke chapter twelve, come to mind. But even though the theme is an old one, it is a vital tale for humanity and Dickens tells it in such a stirring way.
I found myself on the edge of my seat as Scrooge is overwhelmed with the horror of what his acts have done to those around him. He longs to make it right, aches with the weight of a lifetime lived for him alone and desperately pleads for the chance to change the mark he has made upon his world. And oh the horror when he thinks that the time for change has passed him. When he sees that plundered corpse upon the bed and the ghost of Christmas yet to come points at the sheet covering that cold dead face and he cannot make himself pull it aside. The agony when he wonders what that dead man might do if raised to life. Would he change? Would he amend the cold life he had lived, now that he himself has faced the terrible chill of the grave? And then when Scrooge reads his name upon the gravestone! How he begs for the change to “sponge those letters off the stone” but how can one sponge something written into solid rock? And the moment he awakens and realizes that it is Christmas day and he has a choice and a life and a second chance.
God has written this story many times. In the book of Jonah, the life of King David, Moses, Gideon, Peter, and Saul. And we, the work of His hands write it back to Him. For this is our story as well. We have been given life, one life, and so many times we forget that every moment is golden and we spend it without thought. But sometimes, something rattles us so profoundly that we realize and sometimes it is God Himself doing that terrible rattling. That wash of joy when Scrooge realizes that he has a few more breaths to spend. God offers that to us. Second chances, the Bible is all about second chances. And along with Ebenezer Scrooge, that is what I learned about God this week.