Throughout the world there are many, many stories where the villain gets their own in the end. From modern tales to old and ancient. We see the story over and over.
The theaters are packed with people looking for the satisfaction of seeing the bad guy beaten and destroyed. Television makes great money from it. And this time of year, we see the inflow of holiday versions. The list is long:
- The Grinch (The Grinch Who Stole Christmas)
- Old Man Potter (It’s A Wonderful Life)
- The Bumble (Rudolf The Red-Nosed Reindeer)
- Harry & Marv (Home Alone)
- Burgermeister Meisterburger (Santa Claus Is Coming To Town)
Besides Herod from the original Christmas story, one blaring absentee from the above list is Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge of “A Christmas Carol” fame. AKA, Charles Dickens’ greatest known novella. One of the most prolific members of this small group, Scrooge was famous for his blatant disregard for human life if it did not profit him directly.
Of course we all know this story. A man who so hated life that all who knew him hated him. He was rude and selfish. Greedy and cruel. The variations of him range from the Seymour Hicks version of 1935 to the most recent adaptations by way of stage and film. Including the great Sir Michael Caine’s portrayal in one of my favorites: The Muppet Christmas Carol. Hallmark alone has had dozens of versions with various twists. The overall arc of the stories remains the same with different character names and elements. All with their roots in the story first published in 1843.
Essentially, some tragic events take place involving Mr. Scrooge on Christmas Eve that change his life forever. When he wakes to discover it is Christmas Day, he celebrates by becoming a truly changed man and loving all that surround him. A beautiful story that touches our hearts to this day. Even if we have seen a thousand different renditions.
But what is this narrative most famous for? Is it Tiny Tim? Maybe Dickens himself? Cratchit? Nope. Nope. And, ummm, nope! It is most famous for its bad guy, Ebenezer Scrooge. Why? Because the story surrounds the amazing transformation of this grumpy, belligerent, old man.
Here’s the parallel I am trying to put forth: Scrooge is not famous for his change. He is famous for who he was before. Sad, isn’t it? A story so full of beauty from ashes, yet the ashes are the thing everyone remembers. Too bad, Mr. Scrooge. Your name shall go down in history replete and synonymous with evil and mean. You will always be known as the bad guy.
Grinch? You too! And the Bumble. Because we as people tend to see the story from the beginning and not the end. Yes, there are always exceptions to the rule. But in truth (Scrooge for sure) some stories will always depict the bad guy as always being the bad guy.
As Christians, we look at our past and many of us can see a Scrooge. Maybe even a Grinch. We can see the evil that we did, the selfishness, the criminal intentions and, if we listen to the wrong “person,” that will be the character by which we will always compare ourselves to. But the Word says we are a new creature. The old has passed away and all things are new. (2 Cor. 5:17)
Don’t let the curse of Ebenezer Scrooge or the Grinch (or anything, for that matter) take you down! You have been reborn. It is Christmas morning and you are a different person!
Featured Image by Steve Halama