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Heed Marely’s Words

November 19, 2014

In a few short days, my son Jared will join Kokomo Civic Theatre as they present, Scrooge. I admit it, I am a die hard fan of Charles Dickens and his most famous piece of literature, A Christmas Carol. I cannot even count the number of versions that I have viewed of this classic. Its tale is timeless, and its message eternal.

Three years ago I shared a post concerning Jacob Marley’s admonition to Scrooge and us all. As we enter the holiday season, I am compelled to share it again. Charles Dickens warned us about a life wasted, but also gave us the confidence that even the worst of mankind has hope. 261 years after Dickens penned his masterpiece, in the midst of overwhelming lives, there is still hope.  Scrooge declares after his visit with the final ghost, “I’ve got a chance to change, and I will not be the man I was.” We too have a chance to change.

For those of you in the Kokomo area: This weekend, take the family to a holiday classic. SCROOGE the musical. Friday, November 21 and Saturday evening at 8:00 pm, Havens Auditorium at IUK, and Sunday at 2:00. Tickets are $17.00 for adults and $12.00 for students.

Now, heed Marley’s words.

It is November.  It is officially Thanksgiving month.  It is amazing that by just a flip of the calendar that everything can change.  I get a festive feeling and a feeling of anticipation for the holidays that are ahead.  I love the holidays.

I admit that in years past my love of the holidays was waning.  The increased activities and stress made the holidays a burden instead of a joy.  I dreaded the marathon meal preparation that lay before me, and I rushed to complete all my tasks on time.  I sure did not say it but, “Bah Humbug” was floating around in my thoughts.

Last week we watched “A Christmas Carol” three times.  We were considering doing a play so we watched it for research purposes.  We are not Scrooge junkies.  As I read through the script and watched two different versions, so many thoughts came to me.  I think we have been inundated with so many different versions of this wonderful classic that we have become hardened to its message.

The message we learn from Scrooge is the result of a hardened heart.  Life is full of disappointment, rejection and hurt.  What we do with all of that dictates who we will become.

The character that really stuck me this time was Jacob Marley.  As I read the script, there were powerful lines that are left out of the movies.  Dickens definitely had a Christian message.  Hollywood has missed the point.  In the movies I have seen, Marley is always represented more as a ghostly figure.  What I saw by reading, was less ghost, more regret.  He was the epitome of remorse for a life lived incorrectly, for a life centered on self.

I will share with you the lines that really touched me.  The italics are my emphasis.

“It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad his fellowmen, and travel far and wide; and if that spirit goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death.  It is doomed to wander through the world – oh, woe is me! – and witness what it cannot share, but might have shared on earth, and turned to happiness!”

“Oh! Captive, bound and double-ironed, not to know that any Christian spirit working kindly in this little sphere, whatever it may be, will find its mortal life too short for its vast means of usefulness.  Not to know that no space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunity misused!  Yet such was I! Oh! Such was I!”

“At this time of the rolling year, I suffer most.  Why did I walk through crowds of fellow-beings with my eyes turned down and never raise them to that blessed Star which led the Wise Men to a poor abode!  Were there no poor homes to which its light would have conducted me?!”

Oh let us never know the sting of regret.  I fear its wound is deep and painful.

The holidays ahead of us can hold many things in store for us.  They can hold endless lists, extra activities and stress.  They can also hold joy, fellowship and charity toward others.  Dear Ebenezer, do not wait until 3 ghosts are on your doorstep before you choose the latter.

From this point forward many things will be clamoring for your time and attention during this holiday season.  Choose wisely.  Do not tread the same path you have in other years.  Use the word, “No.”  Schedule in life and giving first, then once you are sure you have made time for things of value, you may schedule all the other activities.  Do not head down a familiar path if you know it leads to regret.  If the holidays have become a burden, an overwhelming time of year, make choices now to change the direction of your actions.

Ebenezer Scrooge heeded the lessons and warnings of Marley and the 3 spirits.  May it also be said of us.

“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!”

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