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Unremembered Redemption

Unremembered Redemption

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.

christmascarol

Scrooge: a role model?

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?

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2013 in Life

 

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The Magical Myth of the New Year

It is January 1st.

We make a rather big deal about this calendar date being the start of the New Year.

But is it?

There seems to be so many different “New Years.” In 2013, there’s Chinese New Year (Feb 10), UK Tax Year (Apr 6), business fiscal years (often June, July, or Sept), the Academic Year (Aug or Sept depending on location), Rosh Hashanah (Sept 4), US Gov’t Fiscal Year (Oct 1), the Church year (beginning of Advent; Dec 1)…and I’m sure if we look hard enough we could fill in the remaining months (Mar, May, & Nov) with New Years of their own as well.

Given the degree of relativism involved, it’s interesting to me that we make such a big deal out of the changing of the Gregorian calendar from one year to the next. New Year’s Day (by which I mean January 1st) has taken on almost magical properties of creating a clean slate and opening the door to new opportunities (often diets and other resolutions).

I write in a journal fairly regularly, and I have only a few blank pages left in my current book. Somewhat sickeningly over the last few days, I found myself hoping that I would write just enough to fill out the remaining pages, so that come “the” New Year, I could begin afresh with a new journal.

It didn’t happen, and I still find myself with a dozen or so pages unfilled. Not being one to waste paper, I will have to endure the inelegance of having a single journal which contains thoughts from both 2012 and 2013. Tragedy!

Truth be told, there is nothing magical about this date. We sometimes hold out on a course of action until the New Year, somehow believing that it will be more appropriate to start a good habit on Jan 1st rather than right away. Let’s face it: relatively few people start the New Year in a state of mind or body suitable to embark on a new venture of health and happiness. They’re usually sleeping off the party from the night before.

Yet the magical myth of the New Year remains.

How shall I make my beginning into this brand new chronological category? Maybe I’ll go hurry up and scribble all over my remaining journal pages, just so that I can open up that nice, new book and begin a fresh recording of my 2013 reflections.

Or maybe I’ll just go back to sleep, and wait until Feb 10, Apr 6, or even Dec 1 in order to embark on something new. I can experience the “magic” all year long!

Happy New Year!

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2013 in Life

 

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