Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol in 1844 during a period when the British were exploring and re-evaluating past Christmas traditions, including carols, and newer customs such as Christmas cards and Christmas trees (Wikipedia). Ironically, today’s society has been experiencing similar unrest regarding Christmas. The season has become more secular and self decadent and less about God’s gift and His desire to share it with the world. People do tend to show some charity during this season, but it has become a less involved type. We ride on the tailcoats of businesses that run toy and food drives instead of connecting personally with those in our community who could be blessed by our presence. Dickens had noticed that society as a whole had become less concerned about the misery around them and more focused on self. Any signs of charity during Christmas faded within days, and the marginalized were put aside for another year.
Paul’s words to the Philippians church suggest we not only care for ourselves but that we care for each other; it should be a part of our lifestyle. Eugene Peterson (The Message translation) shares Paul’s words as follows:
If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart and if you care—then do me a favour: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand”
(Philippians 2:1-4 MSG).
A poignant line in A Christmas Carol occurs in a conversation between Scrooge and the Ghost of his partner, Marley. Scrooge suggests Marley was, by worldly standards, a good man of business to which Marley howls “Business”, cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. “Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence were, all, my business.”
Enjoy and celebrate Christmas. If possible break bread with your family and if you are unable, phone or face-time. Please remember, you are special and created by God for a purpose. Mankind is our business. The business of bringing the Good News of restoration, forgiveness, and salvation to His creation by our words and actions. God has invited those who believe in Jesus, to join Him on His mission and make humanity our business. “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10 NIV).