Stop to think about it, Ebenezer Scrooge and Zacchaeus the Jewish tax-collector do have some rather distinct similarities…

If you know Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol,  you know that Ebenezer Scrooge is not the sort of person you’d like to be. 
Dickens calls Scrooge was “a tight-fisted hand at the grind-stone … a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster.” 
Furthermore, old Scrooge had considerable wealth, gained in part from mistreating those less fortunate than him. And yet because of the supernatural spirits (the ghosts of past, present and future) that intervened in Scrooge’s life, he ultimately is transformed.  
A Christmas Carol ends with the transformed Scrooge living joyfully and making amends to those he had cheated and hurt, namely with his employee Bob Cratchit and his family. 
As theologian Mark Roberts reflects on old Scrooge’s transformation, he thinks of another man whose life was rather like that of Ebenezer Scrooge.  That man is Zacchaeus, the Jewish tax-collector who made his riches by taking advantage of those from whom he collected taxes, usually charging them more than he had a right to charge them. 
But like Scrooge, Zacchaeus was transformed by supernatural intervention.  Of course, Zacchaeus was visited by Jesus himself, not by fictional ghosts. But as a result of his visit with Jesus, Zacchaeus saw that the way he was living was wrong, and he promised to make things right with those he cheated:  “Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.” (Luke 19:8). 
Let me be frank, part of keeping Christmas well might just be making amends with someone you have wronged in some way, and who needs to hear from you.  Maybe you have been less generous that you should have been, like both Scrooge and Zacchaeus.  Is this Christmas the time to start sharing your blessings with others?

I don’t think you or I can ever make things right with anyone because of our inherent goodness.  Who of us is good in and of herself?  Jesus transforms people or they are not transformed.  As theologian Mark Roberts says, “When we grasp the wonder of his grace, the fact that he made amends on our behalf through offering his life for us, we are moved and set free to become people of generosity and justice.”  

So friends, as you think about Christmas, and ponder your life and relationships, are there people to whom you ought to speak, and make amends?  

Now let’s put the tire to the road:  “How do you plan to reach out to them and try to make things right?”

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