Bah Humbug! Christmas, according to Ebenezer Scrooge, was a hoax and deception because anything that interfered with the accumulation of money was foolishness. Charles Dickens wrote ‘A Christmas Carol’ in 1843 and prefaced it with, “I have endeavoured in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me….”.
We all know this famous Victorian tale about a miser who undergoes a profound experience of redemption over the course of an evening as a result of being confronted by ‘Ghosts’ of his past, present and future when Scrooge sees how his his mean behaviour has affected those around him. At the end of the story he is relieved to discover that there is still time for him to change and we see him transformed into a generous and kind-hearted human being.
But I wonder what the ‘Spirit of Christmas’ is in our day and age? Putting to one side for the moment the question of its pagan origin or whether or not Ghosts exist, is Christmas still a hoax and deception? It certainly doesn’t interfere with the accumulation of money in today’s economy, in fact for many firms it is a major commercial opportunity and products are on the shelves months in advance. Scrooge would have been delighted.
Anyone who has read for themselves the accounts in the Bible of the birth of Christ will be aware of the errors in the ‘Christmas Story’ we have all come to know, and there are Christians who refuse to celebrate Christmas as for them it is a ‘hoax and a deception’.
There is, however, more than the ‘Ghost of an idea’ in the Bible surrounding the message of Christ, the Saviour who came into the world to save us from sin and death. When confronted by the spirit of The Word of God we too become aware of our past and present failings and yet can discover the life transforming promise of redemption through Christ.
No amount of Bah Humbug! can take away the joy of that message.