As Christmas day has now passed, so too another of our annual traditions comes to a close: watching Christmas films. Each December, my wife and I enjoy a particular part of our DVD collection as we view a wide variety of Hollywood’s perspectives on Christmas. Drama and comedy, live action and animated, classic and contemporary, there are a range of experiences to be enjoyed. This year included Miracle on 34th Street (the modern remake), Santa Claus: The Movie, Elf, Fred Claus, and The Nutcracker Prince.
Within our collection, we also own several versions of the classic Dickens story, “A Christmas Carol.” This year we saw a new rendition: the CGI animated version from Disney released in 2009. It was surprisingly dark and intense, but it did bring up something to reflect on.
Being a “Scrooge” remains a cultural stereotype of someone who is tight with money and missing out on the joys of life. I found myself saddened by this prevailing image for one simple reason: it completely overlooks the end of the story.
Sure enough, throughout most of the tale, Scrooge does typify these ideas, but the end of the journey brings about an incredible transformation in this rough-edged miser. He becomes a paragon of generosity, embraces others, and engages in the beauty of relationships that life has to offer.
But none of this is included in our common image of Scrooge.
His redemption goes completely unremembered. Overlooked. Cast aside. We hold on to what he was, and not what he became. In our minds, Scrooge is forever trapped in the midst of greed, loneliness, and joylessness.
Instead, why can’t Scrooge be for us an image of the one who was delivered from such a colorless existence? Why can’t calling someone a Scrooge instead be a celebration of how they have changed for the better?
Christmas is about God moving forward in His plan of redemption, of taking us lost souls and bringing us into fullness of life through the coming of His Son. Scrooge is a perfect emblem of what is offered to each of us, but we choose to cling to his old self rather than to celebrate the new life that he enjoyed.
One blog post will not transform our cultural archetypes, but I at least desire for myself that I will be able to interact with others from a place of hopeful expectation about the change and wholeness that we all might experience, rather than simply relegating one another to the way we were at the beginning of our own story.
The time for New Year’s resolutions is nearly upon us. For me, I think I’ve got a simple one:
I want to be a Scrooge.
Not a miserable miser, but a generous, friendly, caring soul who acknowledges his own redemption and employs his means to be a blessing to others.
Care to join me?