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“I wear the chain I forged in life. I made it link by link and yard by yard. Is its pattern strange to you or would you know the length of the strong coils you bear yourself? It was as full, as heavy, as long as this seven Christmas Eves ago, you have labored on it since, it is a ponderous chain!”
Jacob Marley [to Scrooge]
Good morning, friends! This first Monday of Advent begins cold and dreary and yet we are on a journey to joy. Perhaps it is an appropriate beginning. Before we begin please note that I will be quoting from Charles Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol” for the four Mondays of Advent (the immediate four Mondays that precede Christmas). Off we go!
“A Christmas Carol” is a story told in five stanzas. In the first stanza the stage is set and Scrooge is confronted by the challenge of the story. Scrooge’s old partner, Jacob Marley, returns to him as a ghost to reveal to him the connection between “this” life and the “afterlife”. It matters not one’s theology at all; this is a challenge for everyone today.
Curiously, Marley was warning Scrooge of a hell that was awaiting him due to his life; it is hard to imagine a more hellish life than Scrooge lived. A short list? Scrooge was lonely, selfish, angry, bitter, mean, miserly. Need I add more? And do you need more to see a living hell on earth?
If you were to craft a well-lived life, what would be your building blocks? Love, relationships, joy, peace, community, generosity. Sounds like a pretty good life, yes? Can you forge these chains now? Sure you can and your life will be better for it today, right now!
No one’s life exists in the clear extremes of any storybook character, not Scrooge or Fred or Bob Cratchit; they make great story because their characters are clear. Your character and my character are anything but clear. We wear the chain we forge in life, so get busy forging the chains of the life you want to live! Surely if “A Christmas Carol” teaches us anything it is that the life we project is the life we will receive. Start projecting the life you love! The chain will be lighter, the life will be brighter, and the experience of every day will be better. It begins with you and me, and we are up for it! Have a wonderful week!