Sunday, November 22, 2009


Fiberoptic tinsel twinkles rainbows in our Christmas tree, bedecked with ornaments, each a special memory from Christmases past. I'm already making lists for this Christmas ~ the menu, gifts for each guest, centerpieces, the short devotional to honor Jesus, the reason for the season, and the carol we'll sing together.

Webster's defines a carol as a song of joy or mirth, a popular song or ballad of religious joy. "Oh come to us, abide with us, our Lord, Emmanuel." "He rules the world with truth and grace." These are just a few carol lyrics that make true peace dance in my soul.

Since I'm into Christmas, I went to see A Christmas Carol yesterday thinking I would not have much in common with grouchy old Ebenezer Scrooge. But an unexpected moment brought my handkerchief out to dry my cheeks. During the spectre of Christmas present, old Ebenezer lost himself for a moment and joined the children dancing in a circle. His white nightgown flapped and his long nightcap flopped as he skipped and pranced. Then he eagerly lined up with the other wildly chattering children to receive a small gift. He held the tiny, shiny red box close to his heart as though it were a treasure. Then when he returned to his viewing spot at the edge of the festive scene, he noticed a small girl sitting alone. She had not gotten up to get a present. Slowly, tentatively, Ebenezer gave her his shiny red box. His face registered sadness for his loss until he saw how happy it made the girl. As he returned to invisibility on the outskirts of subsequent scenes, he remembered this joy of giving, which contributed to his grand generosity of spirit at the end of the play.

Since I've had joy in giving for as long as I remember, I didn't expect to identify with Scrooge. But I have to admit, my heart is not all that childlike any more. I seem to be dragging a sack of sadness and responsibility as big and bulgy as Santa's bag of toys. Would I lose myself in undignified dance? Would I squeal in unintelligible delight? Would I line up eagerly to get a gift, or would I hang back pretending it didn't matter? Would a simple gift thrill me? Would I give
away my only treasure?

My tears during this scene surprised me enough to ponder these questions of cynicism, hope, sophistication, simplicity, keeping, and giving. If I were musically inclined, I'd write a carol about a little girl shyly giving the humbuggy parts of her heart to Jesus and then closing her eyes and holding out her hands to receive whatever He might put there. Lo and behold, He puts His own hands in hers. The best gift of all.

No comments: