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God bless you, merry gentleman
December 13, 2010
by Pastor Douglas Pierce, Lake Jennie Ev. Covenant Church, Dassel

In Charles Dickens, “A Christmas Carol,” the following lines occur,

“The owner of one scant young nose, gnawed and mumbled by the hungry cold as bones are gnawed by dogs, stooped down at Scrooge’s keyhole to regale him with a Christmas carol, but at the first sound of, “God bless you, merry gentleman! “May nothing you dismay!,” Scrooge seized the ruler with such energy of action that the singer fled in terror, leaving the keyhole to the fog and even more congenial frost.”

The carol that the young urchin sings to Scrooge is one of the most popular Christmas carols of all time. We are more familiar with it being sung as “God rest ye merry gentlemen.”

We don’t know when it was written, or who wrote it. There is even disagreement about the meaning of the first line.

But within the context of Dickens’ story, Scrooge’s rejection of the caroler is an ominous portent of all that will happen to him, and all that he is. For Scrooge is the essence of the man, or woman, who has rejected the blessing of God.

Scrooge believes that it is through his wealth and activity that he will find happiness. He makes this clear when he tells his nephew, “Merry Christmas! What right have you to be merry? What reason have you to be merry? You’re poor enough.”

But his nephew quickly responds, “What right have you to be dismal? What reason have you to be morose? You’re rich enough.”

The answer of course is that the money that Scrooge lives for does not have the ability to bring him happiness, but instead becomes the prison of his existence.

The visits of the ghosts that are in his future are all designed to show him his need for the blessing of God. Far from letting nothing dismay him, Scrooge had created a world for himself in which there was nothing but despair.

Today, in our society, I think few people would reject Christmas as vehemently as Scrooge does, but I fear that there are far too many who are willing to have a merry Christmas, but yet reject the blessing of God.

In the Christmas season, it is the gift of Jesus Christ that should be at the center. It is all well and good to celebrate the season, but if in the end we reject the gift, it is all for nothing.

To reject the gift of the Christ child is to wake up on Christmas morning as empty as Scrooge went to bed on Christmas Eve.

This Christmas season, my prayer is that all of you will recognize the need you have to accept the gift of Christ (as did Scrooge, in the end). Then, we can truly say, as does tiny Tim at the end of Dickens’ story, “God bless us, every one.”