In this tale of Mr Dickens writing his bestseller A Christmas Carol, Charlie has a kind of writer’s block. He cannot finish his festive masterpiece. For one simple reason. He cannot imagine that Scrooge will ever change. And so he walks the streets at night, wrestling with himself and the characters he has created. And he finds himself back at the abandoned factory where he worked as a boy. A past he is trying to avoid. And in finally facing what happened to him there, the loneliness, abandonment and trouble, he finds a way forward. He leaves that place with a spring in his step and a fresh idea brimming in his mind. And a new attitude towards the father who left him to work there, when he was taken to debtor’s prison. He starts to believe that change is possible, and as a result… his ghost-bothered Scrooge can wake up a different person on Christmas morning. It’s the heart of this humorous tale. Charles is forever squabbling with his father. Though the old man does provide him with the memorable quote, ‘No one is useless who lightens the burden of another.’ Moving on is not easy. The past sticks to us like superglue at times. And there are moments of needing a new perspective on things. I often look back and feel a flinch in my spirit. So many blunderings! So many rueful regrets. I’m glad that we have somewhere to bring that litter-strewn landscape. Someone who can help with the ongoing process of setting us free from those things which haunt us. And someone who can lighten our burdens and help us to lighten the burdens of others. Christmas is often described as a time of peace and goodwill, but the pressures it brings can steal these things away. That’s why I’m grateful for the child at the heart of the season, a gift born in a place of trouble, squalor, and loss. A sign from the time before time, that whether we are winning or losing, God is on our side.
I regularly post creative pieces which help folks connect with the Bible in a contemporary and down-to-earth way. Please feel free to make use of them if they inspire you. I also post daily short thoughts on Twitter and have produced a variety of books, most of which draw on the Bible.