The story challenges us all, will we live self-absorbed
lives or will we live our lives loving and serving others?
Ebenezer was a man very rich according to the
world’s standards of money, business, and commerce. A self-absorbed
man. A man with a shriveled, cold heart. A miserable,
pitiful wretch of a man. A man who did not seem to enjoy the world, its
people, and its pleasures around him. But also a man who changed in
the latter years of his life and became a totally different person.
Ebenezer Scrooge experienced the transformation of a
lifetime, becoming a beacon of goodwill and cheer after his visits from the
spirits of Christmas past, present, and future. Most everyone has
heard of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. We enjoy at
least one of the television renditions yearly.
Many people do not realize, though, that Dicken’s original story is one of
Christian conversion. A miserly, self-ruled man who
submits himself to the Christ of Christmas. Replete with
biblical-Christian language and references (which are ignored in our modern and
secular retellings of the story), Ebenezer comes to know His Creator in
a real way, and the One born in a manger changes his
life. Scrooge spends the rest of his life making amends to those he
has wronged, spreading goodwill and compassion, and keeping Christmas every day in
Charles Dickens wrote from a Christian worldview, much
like the fiction of C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien. Author Stephen
Skelton writes, “Today, too many of us view A Christmas Carol as
a secular seasonal story, in the same category as the stories of Rudolph or
Frosty. But that’s not where it belongs at all. In the first place, with
Charles Dickens, you’re dealing with a self-proclaimed Christian author.
And in the second place, he has infused his story with Christian meaning.
After all, this is the writer who said, ‘I have always striven in my writings
to express the veneration for the life and lessons of our Savior…’ ’”
The biblical name Ebenezer means “thus far the Lord has
helped us.” Samuel used the name to commemorate a victory God gave His people.
The prophet set up a stone – an Ebenezer stone – to remind them of God’s
faithfulness. A modern rendering of the hymn Come Thou Fount of Every
Blessing includes the line, “Here I raise mine Ebenezer, here by thy great
help I’ve come.”
The last use of the name Ebenezer in A Christmas Carol occurs when Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Future stand at the neglected stone in a dark graveyard. The gloomy specter points a finger to the lonely marker bearing the name Ebenezer Scrooge. Likely the use of the name Ebenezer was quite intentional by Dickens. Our lives, unredeemed, can be wasted, as was Jacob Marley and Scrooge’s up to that point. If so, they serve as warnings to humanity. But a monument can also be erected through our repentance, belief, love, and service to others that show the power of a transformed life.
Ebenezer, though late in life, allowed God to forgive
him, change him, and use him. A man who became a source of goodwill,
selflessness, and generosity to many others. And his eternity
secured by the Babe of Bethlehem, enjoying His Presence, goodness, and
Pictures courtesy of Pixaby