Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | December 14, 2014

December 14, 2014 “Bah! Humbug!”

We do not try to trick people into believing—we are not interested in fooling anyone. We never try to get anyone to believe that the Bible teaches what it doesn’t. All such shameful methods we forego. We stand in the presence of God as we speak and so we tell the truth, as all who know us will agree.” (2 Corinthians 4:2)

 

Good Morning and Blessed Lord’s Day Everyone!

One of my favorite Christmas season traditions is to once again enjoy Charles Dickins’ classic tale, “A Christmas Carol.” I have seen numerous versions of it on film and stage, and have read the book.Even if you have never done so, I am sure you are familiar with Ebenezer Scrooge and his oft’ quoted assessment of the entire idea of Christmas…”Bah! Humbug!” Do you know what the definition of “humbug” is? It is much more than a dismissive response given to those around him, particularly to his nephew Fred. Essentially, what Scrooge means by it is that Christmas is a fraud…a deception. He is not merely dismissing its celebration as being an exercise in meaningless frivolity. He is declaring that the whole meaning of it’s celebration, that is, the birth of Christ, is a delusion…a fraud…a fable. The only “joy” in his life is that of avarice. Dickens’ description of him in the opening chapter of the book say it well:  Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner!” Dickens indicates that he wasn’t always that way. But some time in his life, joy and optimism, along with love, turned to cynicism and avarice. Christmas symbolized all the he had come to scorn. His nephew Fred greeted his grizzly uncle’s “Bah! Humbug!” with this revealing response:

“But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round — apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that — as a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time:”

I particularly liked his reference to the very name of Christmas and its derivation. When he spoke of “the veneration due to its sacred name and origin” he was speaking of the birth of Christ. He understood that his uncle had lost sight of the marvel and the true meaning of the celebration. With good cheer he exemplified its powerful truth. Christmas is no deception, nor is the message of the Gospel. That’s what Paul was saying to the citizens of Corinth. He said, “We do not try to trick people into believing—we are not interested in fooling anyone. We never try to get anyone to believe that the Bible teaches what it doesn’t. All such shameful methods we forego. We stand in the presence of God as we speak and so we tell the truth, as all who know us will agree.” Paul saw no need for deception or trickery in sharing the Good News.  He knew that to speak deceptively would incur the wrath of a Holy God, so he wrote, We stand in the presence of God as we speak and so we tell the truth, as all who know us will agree.” Christmas a humbug? Certainly not!” It is a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable pleasant time.”. Scrooge came to that realization and it transformed his life. “And so, as Tiny Tim observed,God bless us, everyone.” Let’s pray!

Glorious Lord in Whom there is no deception; I come before you this day in worship and adoration. May this day be filled with the praises of my lips and the love in my heart for you. This I pray in Jesus’ Wonderful Name! Amen!

 

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