Monthly Archives: December 2013

January Shavings Letter

Dear Faith Family,

We’ve all seen it. Every year it’s on stage at the Goodman Theater in Chicago and
countless community theaters. There are so many versions of it, from Alastair Sim to
Patrick Stewart to Mickey Mouse; even Bill Murray did a unique and wonderful version of
it a few years ago. It’s Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, and the man of the hour is
Ebenezer Scrooge.

The self-made, self-occupied, and self-centered man is visited by three spirits, the
ghosts of Christmas past, present and future. The three of them do the work of the Holy
Spirit in effecting a complete transformation of Scrooge from uncaring curmudgeon to
compassionate human being. I confess to being moved every time I see the moment
when Scrooge realizes that “the spirits have done it all in one night” and he has the
chance to really experience the joy of Christmas for the first time. Then old Scrooge
promises, “I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”
Many of us have made that same promise. Now in January, as we take down
decorations and return to the same old routines… perhaps something can be different.
Perhaps, like the wise men, we may “return by another route.” Maybe we can keep
Christmas in our hearts all the year.

If you have ever wanted to make more room for God in your life, if you have ever wanted to
sense the presence of the Spirit, if you have ever wanted to connect with your spiritual self…
now is the time! A good place to start would be with “One Word.” You can read more about
it elsewhere in Shavings, and you can hear about it in worship on January 12, 19, and 26.
It’s a simple, straightforward way to look at life differently… to make a change… maybe even
to keep Christmas all year. I encourage you to take on One Word in 2014!

At the close of A Christmas Carol, the narrator tells us, “Scrooge became as good a
friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other
good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world. Some people laughed to see the
alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough
to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did
not have their fill of laughter in the outset… His own heart laughed: and that was quite
enough for him… It was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if
any man alive possessed the knowledge.”

And then the narrator speaks to you and to me: “May that be truly said of us, and all of
us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless us, every one!”

Faithfully,
Greg