Near-Sighted Faith (Advent Devotion for December 9)

Growing up, it was easily my favorite out of the myriad of versions of Charles Dicken’s classic novella.  For the 1962 television program was not only the first animated Christmas special ever crafted for that medium, but it featured the perfect cartoon character, an elderly, short-statured retiree with extreme near-sightedness, as the legendary Ebenezer Scrooge.

What really set Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol apart, however, was that it was a musical cartoon with Broadway caliber songs by Julie Styne and Bob Merrill.  And produced before the advent of political correctness and de-Christianization in our culture, there was even unabashed faith in this version, with the Cratchit family singing “The Lord’s Bright Blessing” at their meager holiday table.

The song that always got me the most, however, was one sung by a young Ebenezer Scrooge while a lonely and forgotten schoolboy, as seen during the visit of the Ghost of Christmas Past.  For like that ghost, the words were haunting ones indeed:  

“A hand for each hand was planned for the world, why don’t my fingers reach?

Millions of grains of sand in the world, why such a lonely beach?

Where is a voice to answer mine back?  Where are two shoes to click to my clack?

I’m all alone in the world.”

And almost six decades later, I suspect there are a lot of folks today who may feel the same.  For especially in this era of enforced solitude and isolation, it’s easy to feel overlooked by others, made all the worse because the culture keeps telling you that this is supposed to be the “most wonderful time of the year,” indeed, the “hap, happiest season of all.”

The message of faith, however, is summed up in the understanding that if there had been no one else in the entire world but you or me that God would still have sent His Son Jesus to come here on our behalf, or to quote the literal words of John 3.16, “to pitch His tent and live among us.”   For though it is immense, God’s love is also intense, and no matter who we may be, it’s meant to be intensely personal.  

The Christmas errand entrusted to all of us who believe therefore is a simple one.  For you don’t have to be a converted miserly money lender to make a difference.  Just find someone feeling left out of all the holiday joy and let them know that no one is ever all alone in this world.  Indeed, it’s doing that, as the Cratchits so cheerfully sang, that can make Christmas “far more glorious than grand.”  

Even if your faith is not exactly blind but just a little near-sighted.

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