The second ghost to appear to Scrooge, is the Ghost of Christmas Present. He’s dressed in green, fur lined robes and a candle lit crown of holly and ivy rests on his head. His purpose is to further point out the sins of Scrooge and lead him to repentance.
As with most stories of old, the protagonist and antagonist are clearly depicted. We might look at Scrooge as the villain, but he’s really the hero of this story, because he changes his life around, during this evening of dreams and ghostly presentation. Learning the true meaning of Christmas and Christian charity.
This ghost, like the first, takes him on a journey of his current surroundings – showing him the affluent celebrating the holiday with their Figgie Pudding and enormous table of treats, while the poor celebrate, with their meager gifts in poorly heated and lit homes. There was no middle class – just the haves and have-nots. All around the city, he’s observing celebration and joy, yet he feels completely separated from it. When they visit the Cratchit house, Scrooge notices Tiny Tim’s crutch standing near the fireplace and suddenly realizes the magnitude of this family’s suffering. His heart is beginning to melt like the icicles which have collected upon the roof. He wonders if the boy will live. He’s actually concerned for his welfare. This poor family seems to possess as much as those who have the luxury of spending a fortune on their Christmas meal. They have not been blessed with wealth, but they have the true love of family and being connected.
The spirit then shows Scrooge two emaciated children, hiding under his robe. The boy is named Ignorance and the girl named Want. This part of the story depicts the social message as the ghost declares to Scrooge, “Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased.” Once again, Scrooge’s conscience is put to the test.
I think the message of this portion of the story is that Christmas is not about our giving, but of the greatest gift ever. Even those who didn’t have much to share, were willing to do so. The truth joy of Christmas is sharing in the greatest gift to all humanity – the birth of our Savior.
We need to be reminded of our sins if we’re to confess and repent of them. The Old Testament shows us our sin through the law and God’s expectations of us. The New Testament shows us our Savior and what He’s done to carry our burdens and sin to the grave. We need to hear and see both, to make confession before the Lord. Thus Scrooge’s repentance is beginning to take place.
The Ghost of Christmas past will live one more day – the future takes over – we think of our own repentance. We see our sinful selves and how we’re being devoured by sin. Our hearts are laid bare before God. Since the wages of sin are death, we feel complete loss until we realize that God has actually taken it on Himself to solve the problem.
He did this by sending His own flesh and blood to live with us and experience all the things we do, but remained sinless. When He suffered on the cross, he took the sins of the entire world with Him. He was utterly separated from His Father. When He rose from death, He proves that death has no more power over us. Through Jesus, we are sure of heaven and all its blessings. Even the Scrooges among us have been saved.
STAY TUNED FOR PART THREE – THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS YET TO BE.