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 Disney's - A Christmas Carol 
Theme: Life and Death


Robert Zemeckis the gifted director and filmmaker has just come out with a new animated film based on the Charles Dickens classic novel A Christmas Carol. Perhaps not everyone will be thrilled with this new version of the timeless tale, but like it or not the film has several powerful scenes that give insight into spiritual truths that concern all human beings.

Life and Death

The movie begins with the opening line of Dicken's novel "Marley was dead: to begin with". The main theme of the story is death and that what we do in life echoes in eternity ( the famous line from Gladiator). To previous generations this was not a novel idea, but to people in the 21st century who live in a grand denial that they will ever die, it may well be worth considering. Jacob Marley returns to tell Scrooge that the chains he wove in life now enslave him in death.

Eugene Peterson writes of the Rich Man and Lazarus in the Gospel of Luke:    " This story also tells us something about the time of everyday life. Life here fashions an eternal destiny. Why should we call any day commonplace? Every time the rich man walked past Lazarus, he was building hell; and every time Lazarus refused to be embittered by the bread of poverty, he was building a home in heaven. Every step is destiny.
Eternity is not what begins when we die. Eternity is woven into every word and action of our daily lives. Both hell and heaven have their roots in what we're doing here and now. What the rich man was doing was giving his entire attention to himself. His life was complete self indulgence. When he died, the thin visible veil that separates everyday time from God's eternity was ripped away, and he became fixed in the very situation in which he had lived for so many years.
The misery of the rich man was that he had no relationship to anything eternal; he was exiled from the very Source of life. This is the reality behind the picture of hell. It is the place where God is not. It is the state in which man is utterly separated from his Creator by a great chasm.*

When Jacob Marley flies out into the night Scrooge see this picture of hell. A sky filled with those who have been utterly separated from their Creator. What one does in life echoes in eternity.


Another powerful scene comes toward the end of the film when Scrooge is taken to the cemetery by the Spirit of Christmas Yet To Come. As the spirit begins to uncover the name and date on Ebenezer Scrooge's gravestone the ground opens up and Scrooge begins to fall into the black hole. He sees below an open coffin illuminated by a fiery red light. This is the reality of every life. There is a slippery slope that leads to death and everyone is on it and they are falling. Most people do not live with this reality. The beauty and power of this scene is that Scrooge doesn't fall into the coffin dead...end of story... close the lid. He falls into death and through it into life. The wood of the coffin becomes the wood of his bedroom floor and he awakens to Christmas morning; a new day, a new life, resurrection life.


This is the true meaning of Christmas. This is the "good news" of Christmas. A Savior has been born. There is a way out of death and into new life, new creation. It is through the life, death, and resurrection of the one celebrated on Christmas Jesus Christ. Scrooge's transformation and jubilation simply ought to be the mark of everyone who calls themselves Christian.

* From  Conversations, The Message Bible With Its Translator   Luke 16.
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