The three ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Yet To Come visited on Ebenezer Scrooge are a skillful allegory of a near-death experience. People who have come razor-close to real death; who have experienced the beginning of the end, the shutting down of systems, the farewell of the flesh; these people tend to say much the same things: I re-lived my life, and weighed myself in the balance and was found wanting. I saw myself as from afar and above, and witnessed a white light toward which I was drawn. I realized that nothing material was important, and that the only thing that counted was other people and my own soul.
When these few have been dragged, often quite unwillingly, back to finish out their appointed days, they are transformed. They do not desire earthly goods; they wish to make up for their past wrongs, and to earn in their own hearts the privilege that life extends.
Marly's Ghost comes to us all from time to time, and most of the time we can ignore him. Sometimes we are handed a lesson that we can't ignore, and even if it does not utterly transform us; even if we do not bring a big roast goose to Tiny Tim and give Bob Cratchit a raise in pay; even if we do no more than try to behave more decently to our fellow sufferers and watch our tongues and try to be more forgiving; even if we only do a little bit, that little bit will be a little bit less that we will rue when the bright light hurls us into eternity and we re-live our lives in the twinkling of an eye, and wish we could have done better. Some few of us get second chances, but most of us don't. Merry Christmas, and God bless us, every one.
Christmas Present referst to Charles Dickens (1812 - 1870) A Christmas Carol (1843).
In the same hour came forth fingers of a man's hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the wall of the king's palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote. - Daniel 5:5
And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.
This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.
TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and found wanting.
PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians. - Daniel 5: 25-28
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