“Christmas a humbug, uncle!” said Scrooge’s nephew. “You don’t mean that, I am sure.”
It’s a Christmas classic that has been around for almost 200 years. Scrooge has taken his place right alongside of the red-nosed reindeer, a talking snowman, and a little boy named Charlie Brown. Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without the old miser’s “Bah, humbug!”
While Christmas may have been a “humbug” for Ebenezer, it certainly wasn’t for Charles Dickens. What many people don’t know is that “A Christmas Carol” was only one of five Christmas Stories that Charles Dickens wrote. The Chimes, The Cricket on the Hearth, The Battle of Life and The Haunted Man and the Ghost’s Bargain were all stories that focused on this holiday.
In addition to this, Dickens authored a little known book in 1849, written expressly for his children called, The Life of Our Lord. He never intended it to be publicized and made it clear that he had written it in a form he thought best suited his children. He frequently told his children the gospel story and wanted to make sure the narrative of Christ was told in a way that was simple enough for them to understand.
Listen to his introduction…
“My dear children, I am very anxious that you should know something about the History of Jesus Christ. For everybody ought to know about Him. No one ever lived, who was so good, so kind, so gentle, and so sorry for all people who did wrong, or were in anyway ill or miserable, as he was. And as he is now in Heaven, where we hope to go, and all to meet each other after we are dead, and there be happy always together, you never can think what a good place Heaven, is without knowing who he was and what he did.”
And then he continues…
“He was born, a long-long time ago – nearly Two Thousand years ago – at a place called Bethlehem” (Charles Dickens, The Life of Our Lord p. 1)
Dickens provides us an excellent illustration of one man’s attempt to follow the exhortation of Psalm 78:4
Psalm 78:4 We will not conceal them from their children, But tell to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, And His strength and His wondrous works that He has done.
How are we telling the generation to come about the praises of the Lord? Are we communicating God’s strength and wondrous works in ways that our children can understand? What are we concealing from those that will follow us? Are we frequently telling the gospel story?
I am challenged and convicted by the example of Charles Dickens and while I am not familiar with all that he believed, one thing can be said for sure. It was more than a Christmas Carol and Dickens made sure that his children knew it.
In Christ Alone,