The story is dark, a ghost filled tale of bleakness. He was miserly, so tight-fisted with a penny that he wouldn’t add more than a single piece of coal to the stove in his office. He scrimped and saved and hoarded his money. No family. No friends. No love. Merry Christmas? Bah Humbug! Day after day he left his icy cold office to go home to his icy cold house, and stack up his icy cold coins in the icy coldness of his life. He lived a bleak, miserable, austere, desolate life. His name was Ebenezer Scrooge and his name has become synonymous with meanness and stinginess and the barrenness of a life lived without generosity.
But after a Christmas Eve replete with visions of his Christmas past and present and future, the story takes a U-turn. Thankfully, the story ends with a change of heart and our hearts warm when his does. Scrooge learns the true value of gold when he experiences the joy of giving. Austerity turns into abundance. Bleakness becomes blessing. It truly is a wonderful story. A very rich man, who was abysmally poor, becomes abundantly wealthy when he learns to give. Ebenezer Scrooge discovers the richness of generosity.
Proverbs tells us, “One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. People curse the one who hoards grain, but they pray God’s blessing on the one who is willing to sell. Whoever seeks good finds favor, but evil comes to one who searches for it. Those who trust in their riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.” Proverbs 11:24-28
The story of Scrooge is a marvelous Christmas story. When Charles Dickens wrote it and people read it, charitable giving actually went up. People saw the value of generosity and became more generous. But the message isn’t just for the Christmas season. How generous a people are we? God has so graciously given to us. How much are we willing to give?
Father, examine my heart today. If there is any hint of miserliness in me, please turn that coldness into generosity.