Study: Recall a time when someone was a source of hope in your life. How were they present to you?
Pray: Are there situations or circumstances that are difficult right now? Ask the Lord for the gift of hope to see how to proceed.
Serve: How can you be a source of hope to another? Who do you know right now that can be strengthened by your presence?
A Christmas Carol
Part II: People of Hope
There are a wide variety of people in the story who live with a sense of the Christmas spirit. They come from many walks of life, with different abilities and skills, yet their genuine understanding of the greater meaning of Christmas makes them excellent examples for us all.
Perhaps it’s Scrooge’s nephew, Fred. Wishing “Merry Christmas, Uncle Ebenezer!” even when he knows it will result in “Bah, Humbug!” – Fred reminds us that hope continues even when life suggests that all is lost.
We see in the Cratchit family an honest desire to make do with what life has to offer. Their affection for one another is not dependent on money or gifts, but stems from the life they have built together. The relish each others joys and feel each others sorrows – living for each other.
Maybe it’s old Fezziwig, the joyous master under whom Scrooge apprenticed. With his love for food, dance and song, Fezziwig gathered his employees and neighbors in a festive celebration of life.
Scrooge’s sister, Fan, turns out to be a gentle soul who shows great affection and concern for her older brother. Her life, though short, was marked by the sincere love that leaves a lasting and powerful impression.
Let’s not forget Tiny Tim, the little boy who looked at life as a rich blessing even though his crippled frame prevented him from living like other children. His spirit, it seems, was far larger than the limits which his body would offer; and his crutch becomes a sign of the weaknesses we all must endure at different times in life.
All of these people stand in contrast to Scrooge. They find in life reasons to hope – not because everything is always fine or comfortable. They proclaim, through their words and actions, a message that brings strength and joy. For in the midst of their struggles they recognize that there is something greater, something which is coming into the world.
Like John the Baptist, we are able to proclaim the presence of the Lord in our lives. We announce that God is near. As we discover the Lord among us, may we proclaim a message of hope to all we meet.
Note: This post was first published on December 1, 2014.