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Tuesday, December 29 2009
I saw a strange phenomenon on my last visit to Walt Disney World. It occurred during the closing firework display in front of Cinderella's Castle. If you haven't been to WDW and seen the nighttime extravaganza it is phenomenal but that is not what I'm talking about. What appeared to me to be so strange, so exceptional, and so abnormal as to call it a phenomenon was the sea of blue screens that popped up over the gathered crowd.

I stood there watching hundreds, perhaps thousands of people pull out a small recording device; be it a camera, video recorder, or cell phone and like putting on 3D glasses before a movie; they put these devices up and watched the entire show through their small screen.

What is so strange about this? Well stop and think about it. They were exchanging reality for recording, living color for tintype, grand spectacle for miniature screen. In essence they were there but not there, they saw but did not see. I was so confounded, no dumbfounded...maybe even stupefied. Why would anyone miss the moment, the beauty, the romance, the glory in exchange for the recorded, the mundane, the imitation on a very small screen?

Then it hit me. We do it all the time. It is the same phenomenon that makes a person standing in line at Disney World text someone who isn't there rather than speak to someone who is there. It is the same phenomenon that makes a person sit alone in a coffee shop in front of a small screen rather than sit and converse with another person. I could go on and on but the point is we are addicted to the small screen and the tragedy is this addiction leads us into a very small story. No wonder life seems dull, boring, routine, and even ugly. We are viewing it through the wrong lens.

I am going to close this small screen and go for a walk. I am going to breathe deeply, look at the sky, and maybe even find somebody to talk to.

Posted by: AT 06:45 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, December 15 2009
 Ebenezer Scrooge is the famous name of the main character in Charles Dickens novel A Christmas Carol. Everyone knows the name but what about the meaning? What does Ebenezer Scrooge mean and why does it matter?
If you watch the movie or read the novel you will notice that in the early scenes of his life Scrooge is called by his first name Ebenezer. Ebenezer is a good name, it is a biblical name. In the Hebrew it means "Rock of Help" and it appears in the Bible when the prophet Samuel ( I Samuel 7) sets up a memorial stone to remind Israel of how God delivered them from the Philistines. God is their "Rock of Help".

Scrooge is the name the character is most often referred to when he gets older. Yes, it probably is his last name but there is far more going on here than a transition from first to last names. Scrooge the noun means #1. Ebenezer, a miserly curmudgeon in Dickens A Christmas Carol. #2. Any miserly person. Scrooge the verb comes from the word scrouge and means to squeeze.* That is exactly what Scrooge the miser does as he squeezes others in order to enrich himself, in order to provide for himself.

So when does Ebenezer become Scrooge and why does it matter? Well the popularity of A Christmas Carol over all these years tells you that it is a timeless tale that touches people in their heart. It is a story we all can identify with and here's why.

The first spirit takes Scrooge into his past and shows him " a solitary child, neglected by his friends", and left alone at a boarding school. Exiled from his father, alienated from others the seed of self preservation takes root in his heart. And how does one take care of and provide for himself or herself? With money. It is the idol that so easily sets itself up in every heart, replacing God the Father, the God who richly provides for His children.

Dallas Willard writes: " Most people fail to serve because they have a sense of scarcity in their lives. Out of their scarcity they refuse to serve because they're worried that if they serve someone else, there won't be enough left for them. We can serve only out of abundance. Jesus had that abundance because he knew where he came from and where he was going."*

When you're trying to provide for yourself, enough is never enough. When you trust God for your provision, you realize He is enough.

Scrooge is delivered from his miserly, meager existence by falling through death into life.* It is a beautiful picture of restoration to God that is accomplished through the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ, the true Servant. Scrooge becomes Ebenezer, a "Rock of Help". He becomes who he was created to be , a restoration of original glory. He becomes a servant and as Dickens writes" He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other old city, town or borough, in the good old world. *  

                              Merry Christmas and God Bless Us, Every One!

1. Random House Webster's College Dictionary
2. "Surrendering Our Kingdom To The God Who Is Enough" by Dallas Willard
3. See Movieglimpse A Christmas Carol
4. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Posted by: AT 01:19 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
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