Family Life: Ebenezer Scrooge and the Blessing of a Clean Slate

Ebenezer Scrooge and the Blessing of a Clean Slate

by Rachel Schmoyer

The beauty of A Christmas Carol is not just that Scrooge learned to change, but that his family accepted his change.

After Scrooge’s night with ghostly visitors, he awakens with a brand new attitude. Instead of eschewing all things Christmas, he repents and, among other things, accepts the dinner invitation from his nephew Fred.

I imagine Scrooge nervously standing on Fred’s doorstep. He rings the bell and shuffles his feet, keeping warm while he waits. Would they let him in? Even if they do, would they treat him with disdain based on his old ways?

Here’s how Dickens imagined the scene:

“Why bless my soul!” cried Fred, “who’s that?”

“It’s I. Your Uncle Scrooge. I have come to dinner. Will you let me in, Fred?”

Let him in! It is a mercy he didn’t shake his arm off. He was at home in five minutes. Nothing could be heartier.

Although Fred is a minor character in Dicken’s classic tale, I think he is a real hero. Without any advanced warning, he welcomed his uncle happily, without any mention of all that his uncle had done in the past to slight him.

What would it have done to Scrooge if Fred had brought up the Scrooge of the past?

What does it do to your family relationships when you bring up mistakes from the past?

It heaps shame upon your family member.

It makes them feel defeated while they are trying to change.

It makes them feel small.

It frustrates them and makes them feel like giving up. Why should they try to change when all their family remembers is the way they used to be?

Not only are your family members affected, but you also create a distance between yourselves and others. They cannot openly share with you if they do not feel safe.

Your family members want you to have hope in them. They need love and a warm welcome to greet them at the door instead of criticism and dredging up the past.

The Bible also gives us a picture of the kind of love that Fred shares with Scrooge.

1 Corinthians 13 says love keeps no record of wrong. This kind of love for each other is a reflection of God’s love for His people. In Lamentations 3, God says His mercies are new every morning.

Whether you are expecting visitors in your home this Christmas or if you are visiting others, give your family members a clean slate. Welcome them with a smile and no record of wrong.


About the Author

Rachel Schmoyer is a pastor’s wife and mom of four. She blogs about finding simple truths in complex passages of Scripture at Read the Hard Parts. She also writes about parenting and other adventures at Rachel Schmoyer Writes.

If she is not writing, she is probably reading, most likely a biography of one of the First Ladies of the United States.

You can connect with Rachel online on Twitter.

This is Rachel’s last column with Pandora’s Box Gazette. We have truly appreciated her monthly “Family Life” columns. We wish her all the best.

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