Weekend Thought by Ray Delaney

“WHAT the Dickens.”

Not Charles, but an oath in Shakespeare’s play The Merry Wives of Windsor.

What about Charles Dickens? This year commemorates the 200th year of his birth.

What stories our great English novelist wrote, such as David Copperfield, Great Expectations, Nicholas Nickleby, Oliver Twist. And what great characters.

One of my favourites is Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol.

Scrooge, the miser, not only possessed money but was possessed by money.

Three ghosts visited him before daybreak on Christmas Day. Ghosts of Christmas past, present and future.

They showed him his childhood, his apprenticeship, his fiancee who disowned him, and others who had entered into the true meaning of Christmas.

Gradually, the emptiness of his life dawned on him and finally he saw the lonely gravestone with his name engraved on it.

The Bible talks about the dangers of money. As Jesus put it, we can be “not rich towards God”.

Perhaps possession of money is not our idol. But as a hymn writer said, anything that comes between God and us is an idol.

Back to Ebenezer. The story is not a Christian one but he did an about-turn.

The Bible would call this repentance a new direction.

The children’s chorus reads: “I have decided to follow Jesus; No turning back ... The cross before me, the world behind me; No turning back.”

Scrooge became a new man. He became a second father to the crippled Tiny Tim.

Jesus referred to God as father. We too can have a new father. And as Tiny Tim observed: “God bless us. Every one.”

Amen to that.