One holiday season, A Christmas Carol was the only Christmas play offered in our town, so Barry and I took our then eight-year-old son to a matinee performance. I tried to prepare Christian for the appearance of the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future so he wouldn’t be afraid.
“I’m not afraid of any old ghosts, Mom!” he said indignantly. “It’s just a play — and I’m eight!”
It was a wonderful performance, and as we walked to the car, Barry asked Christian if he’d enjoyed it.
“I did, Dad,” he said. “I loved the ghosts too. I just didn’t like the hamburger guy until the end.”
It took a few moments for us to realize that he was referring to Ebenezer Scrooge and his memorable line, “Bah! Humbug!”
Scrooge is probably the most famously stingy character in all of literature. If you’ve ever read or seen A Christmas Carol, though, you may have noticed that he wasn’t just stingy with his money, but with grace as well.
Scrooge was bitterly critical of everyone — his nephew, his employees, even people going about their business observing the holiday! As a matter of fact, his catchphrase “Bah! Humbug!” has become a universal condemnation. It means “Nonsense!” as in, “All of this Christmas stuff is a bunch of absolute nonsense!”
I have a feeling Ebenezer Scrooge would have gotten along pretty well with the Pharisees of Jesus’ day. Almost every time we run into them in the Gospels, they are self-righteous and mean-spirited, doing their best to catch someone — anyone — in some transgression of the law. Over and over again they go to ridiculous lengths to try to trick Jesus into making a mistake that would call for His arrest.
I think the Pharisees’ strangest moments were when something amazing happened right in front of them. Everyone else in the room was filled with awe and rejoiced… but the Pharisees completely missed it, because they were so focused on the way someone broke the rules!
It’s a sad waste of a life to be a joy-killer. These days I see many modern-day Pharisees perched on social media, just waiting for someone to say something they disagree with so they can pounce. Why would we waste time judging and tearing down people when we could spend our lives looking for ways to bring them joy…
Or praying for those who are struggling…
Or helping those who are hurting… Or spending time with God in His Word and in prayer? A critical spirit is a real joy-killer. Today, let’s make the most of every opportunity to show people God’s beauty and kindness. Let’s splash the world with grace, the gift that keeps on giving!
Be a blessing — spread grace and joy, not judgment.
Five Minutes in the Word
Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. — Romans 14:10 ESV
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” — Matthew 7:1-2
Let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. — Romans 14:13 ESV
Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever! Amen.— 2 Peter 3:18
The grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. — Titus 2:11
Excerpted with permission from 5 Minutes with Jesus: A Fresh Infusion of Joy by Sheila Walsh, copyright Sheila Walsh.
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Who wants to be a joy-killer? Who wants to waste time and peace and joy on social media criticizing and judging? No more humbug! Let’s get serious about love and peace this Christmas! Let’s dig into joy and spread it wherever we go. Let’s be grace splashers! Come share your thoughts. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily