A Merry Christmas After All

We know how the story ends.

"What's to-day!" cried Scrooge, calling downward to a boy in Sunday clothes, who perhaps had loitered in to look about him.

"EH?" returned the boy, with all his might of wonder.

"What's to-day, my fine fellow?" said Scrooge.

"To-day!" replied the boy. "Why, CHRISTMAS DAY."

"It's Christmas Day!" said Scrooge to himself. "I haven't missed it. The Spirits have done it all in one night. They can do anything they like. Of course they can. Of course they can.”

--Dickens, Charles (2004-08-11). A Christmas Carol (p. 68). Public Domain Books. Kindle Edition.

The Spirits can do anything they like.

Nativity

And we are the spirits. Our future is in our hands.

Christmas Day reminds us that we can be redeemed. All we’ve squandered and wasted, all of our sins of omission and commission, can be forgiven.

The consequences remain. 

But there’s good news, still. The cumulative pain of debt stops increasing when we stop borrowing.  That’s true whether we’re talking about borrowing money or borrowing good will.

And we know how the story ends.

In the midst of the street thereof, and on both sides of the river, was the tree of life, bearing twelve fruits, yielding its fruits every month: the leaves of the tree for the healing of the nations.

And there shall be no curse any more: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it. And his servants shall serve him. And they shall see his face: and his name shall be on their foreheads.

And night shall be no more. And they shall not need the light of the lamp, nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God shall enlighten then. And they shall reign for ever and ever.

. . . Behold, I come quickly: and my reward is with me, to render to every, man according to his works. 

I am Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

A Christmas Carol ended similarly:

[A]nd it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!

--Dickens, Charles (2004-08-11). A Christmas Carol (p. 73). Public Domain Books. Kindle Edition.

Merry Christmas. 

The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

In the course of our lives, we sometimes lose our way. We wander off the good path. Or we fail to blaze the trail we should. GhostOfChristmasYTC

THE Phantom slowly, gravely, silently, approached. When it came near him, Scrooge bent down upon his knee; for in the very air through which this Spirit moved it seemed to scatter gloom and mystery.

It was shrouded in a deep black garment, which concealed its head, its face, its form, and left nothing of it visible save one outstretched hand. But for this it would have been difficult to detach its figure from the night, and separate it from the darkness by which it was surrounded.

He felt that it was tall and stately when it came beside him, and that its mysterious presence filled him with a solemn dread. He knew no more, for the Spirit neither spoke nor moved.

"I am in the presence of the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come?" said Scrooge.

The Spirit answered not, but pointed onward with its hand.

--Dickens, Charles (2004-08-11). A Christmas Carol (p. 53). Public Domain Books. Kindle Edition.

Nations are no different.

Dickens warned us about the dangers of putting money before God, about worshiping wealth rather than using wealth to do good.

Sometimes, the luxuries that surround us blind us to the real purpose of wealth. I’m not talking about charity, and certainly not about government redistribution. I am talking about the good society.

Liberty, the right to pursue happiness and acquire property, lead to wealth—a surplus of goods and currency.Our wealth literally buys our futures. 

If we invest in earthly things, things that gratify our temporal sensations, our investments will rot and blow away with the wind.

If we invest in higher things, our investments will be repaid. 

Scrooge invested in things of the earth. They made him miserable and despised. Just as his treasured decayed, so did his soul. And his body.

Simon Sinek, a man who’s dedicated his life to helping others find their purpose, learned the Scrooge lesson in Iraq. He shared his story in an amazing video.

Just before the the appearance of the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come, the Ghost of Christmas Present introduced Scrooge to two wretched little children, dirty and pale, who clung to the spirit’s legs.

Scrooge started back, appalled. Having them shown to him in this way, he tried to say they were fine children, but the words choked themselves, rather than be parties to a lie of such enormous magnitude.

"Spirit! are they yours?" Scrooge could say no more.

"They are Man's," said the Spirit, looking down upon them. "And they cling to me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased. Deny it!" cried the Spirit, stretching out its hand towards the city. "Slander those who tell it ye! Admit it for your factious purposes, and make it worse. And bide the end!"

"Have they no refuge or resource?" cried Scrooge.

"Are there no prisons?" said the Spirit, turning on him for the last time with his own words. "Are there no workhouses?"

The bell struck twelve.

--Dickens, Charles (2004-08-11). A Christmas Carol (pp. 50-52). Public Domain Books. Kindle Edition.

Do we dread or celebrate our glimpses of America’s future?  Is our Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come bright or dark?

Midnight approaches, America.