How palatable we like our meals. As a country of affluence, we become bored eating the same thing too often, and our taste buds have grown accustomed to being assaulted with flavor enhancers lest we find it bland. We need our sustenance fast, hot and flavorful. We are a culture of short attention, short patience and short memories. Our entertainment becomes paramount, and our bellies demanding.
Likewise, we have taken the story of Christmas and bedazzled it to our liking. We have replaced silent reverence with Black Friday, traded holy anticipation for decorated merchandise, and created the most selfish of environments out of the most selfless act the universe has known. We post our designer decorated trees, expensive presents and price tags on Face Book with pride.
In the midst of shopping, ordering and accumulating, the question of Christ at Christmastime is uncomfortable for those who don’t know Him. With nativity scenes and songs boldly proclaiming the Messiah, it seems a strange thing how easily the two are divested one from another in our culture. It is easy to distract with eggnog and gift receipts, and summarily dismiss the big question hanging in the air: the validity of the trembling truth of the Son of God.
As followers of Christ, we are no strangers to distraction. To be fair, I have nothing against the perfume or slippers my husband is going to gift me from my wish list. Further, I’m a huge fan of pie and Christmas lights. But to trade the wedding for the reception alone simply leaves you with a hangover and solo future. Don’t squander the sacredness of this time. Cook your Christmas dinner, but don’t forget to dive deep and swim in the mystery that has changed everything.
My advent devotional read today was non-striking. Or perhaps that is really on me. Oh well – no poetry will flow regardless.
Lori asked me what my favorite Christmas time films were, and which we should be sure to add to our video queue this season. Well I’m quite certain she regretted the query immediately because I started singing “Father Christmas!” from my most favoritist Christmasy films of all time – Scrooge!
This is not, mind you, the Bill Murray fun-guy Scrooge, nor the George C Scott or Jim Carrey, or even the Patrick Stewart Scrooges… (although they are all quite Scroogey). This is a 1970 musical with Albert Finney – the Scroogeist Scrooge eva… gov’na!
I think the whole thing is actually uploaded to YouTube so you could watch it for free – and you would indeed if you cared to take my advice, which you won’t – I can live with that though. I would also suggest you purchase the .99 cent kindle version of A Christmas Carol by Dickens and just read it through this year – it is not that much of a commitment to make honestly.
Chances are good though, that you will spend some time with at least one of the renditions of Scrooge over the next month and I wanted to remind you why the story has been told so many times, in so many ways… because it ventures truth. It is also an early Horror Story… except that the monster and the victim are one and the same.
I dare you (I Triple-Dog-Dare ya! to quote another favorite Christmas film) to invite Dickens ghosts to visit you this season. Take a trip back to Christmas’ Past, to times of joy, or sweet sorrows if they be there. Allow the Ghost of Christmas present to shove your nose against a frosty window to see the needs that call out today. And then tremble before bony finger of Christmas future – and awake to find there is still time to begin again!
(btw… Full film is here: https://youtu.be/y7Pk1jcaLDI)