I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Friday, December 9, 2011

Chucking Chains Christmas-style

Fact: This dude creeps me out... 

He’s Jacob Marley’s ghost from the 1984 George C. Scott version of A Christmas Carol. Love the movie, but I’m guaranteed at least one nightmare each December after my annual viewing. The scariest part is where he ties the scarf around his head, then floats out the window. Freak-y. (If you haven't seen it, here's the clip on YouTube. Skip ahead to 8:48 and you can see Marley tie his scarf and float away...eeek!)

My sister and I used to act out the whole scarf thing. Word to the wise: the look does nothing for a person visually. Can you say triple-chin?

In addition to his jaw-tightening scarf and raggedy clothing, Jacob Marley lugs around a bulky chain. Anybody who’s seen any version of A Christmas Carol, or gone all literary and read the actual novel, knows Marley’s chain represents all the bad things about his life on earth – greed, selfishness, his uncaring attitude toward the poor, etc.

Here’s what Marley says to Ebenezer Scrooge in the movie about his chain:
I wear the chain I forged in life. I made it link by link and yard by yard. Is it’s 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! 
According to Marley, he carried around in his afterlife the misdeeds of his earthly life. Being a Christian and all, I tend to think Marley’s got his eschatology a bit wrong. Still, Marley’s words are tugging on me this week.

See, I’ve been lugging some things here in late 2011. Some of it’s related to my writing life—insecurity regarding my current WIP, frustration at my lack of time, impatience, stress. I have a few other luggings too—more personal, nothing terribly life-threatening, but they're there. And at the moment, they feel heavy.

Writing or otherwise, temporary or deep-rooted, the worst thing about these “chains” is this: They keep me focused on me. They keep me from loving, serving and enjoying others. Frankly, they turn me into Scrooge pre-ghost hangout.

But I want to be like Ebenezer Scrooge at the end of the movie when he jumps on the bed yelling, “I'm as giddy as a drunken man! I'm as gay as a schoolboy!" Except I'd probably use updated lingo. And I wouldn't be wearing a nightcap. 

I want to throw off the things like worry, anxiety, stress, insecurity which blur my outlook. 

I want fresh, God- and others-focused vision. 

And I don't care how motivational poster-y it sounds, I want to soar. (In fact, that's my word for 2012. More on my word choice another time.)

And you know what…I don’t need a series of ghosts to show me how. 

I simply need Christ. 

The best Gift ever came to earth 2,000 years ago, but He's as here now as He was then. And He's all about setting us free from the chains of doubt, insecurity, stress, worry, you name it. No need to lug that stuff around in the afterlife...

And with the real Holy Ghost's help, no need to lug it now.
How about you? Are you lugging anything around? What better time to throw off the weight than during the Christmas season?

Melissa Tagg


  1. I love your word choice! And I love A Christmas Carol. I hadn't seen the YouTube clip and jumped over to see it. I can just see you and your sister doing the scarf thing.

    Great post and reminder that Jesus is the only One who can make us soar!

  2. Melissa, let me guess, you've recently watched A Christmas Carol. :) Love the messages from that movie.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about not letting those chains bind you. I've got a few of my own to unloose. Still praying about my word for 2012, and I may be figuring out what it is. :) Waiting for confirmation. Looking forward to hearing more about your word. :)

  3. Simply superb. I love your gifted way w/ words & the truth you tuck in and punch in so delightfully. You (and these principles) will continue going far!

  4. Can't wait to watch you soar in 2012!

  5. Pat, the thing I can't believe is that we watched that movie when we were young. The part with Jacob Marley still freaks me out today!

    Actually, Jeanne, I haven't watched it yet this year. But I've got it practically memorized from past viewings. Love it! Looking forward to hearing what your word is sometime. :)

    Thank you, Dee, and you, too, Roxanne! You both encourage me soooo much!!

  6. Nope--not watching that clip. I'll stick with the lighter, more fun Christmas movies.
    But one chain I'd like to chuck:
    the chain of comparison. I weigh myself down when I let myself think about what others have -- and I don't --rather than appreciating what I do have and celebrating what others have too!

  7. Haha, don't worry, Beth. It's only that 10 minutes or so when Jacob Marley's around that the movie is creepy. It has a wonderful ending...I always get teary. :) But yeah, it's a far cry from Elf. hehe!

    Yeah, that whole comparison thing is something I need to chuck too.

  8. "I want to throw off the things like worry, anxiety, stress, insecurity which blur my outlook.

    I want fresh, God- and others-focused vision."

    Wow, did I need that this month! Thank you so much for the encouragement ~ and the reminder not to lug these things around and let them steal my joy.

    By the way, the George C. Scott version is my absolute favorite rendition of A Christmas Carol, and the dude still creeps me out as well!

  9. I have to say I'm glad you're updating the language. :-) I also must confess I'm not fond of that movie--any of the versions. And, thanks to my father, I have seen many of them. But I do love your post!

  10. I'm so glad you found the post encouraging, Amanda. I just love the George C. Scott version, too...I even love feeling a bit freaked out each time Jacob Marley appears. :)

    But, I'm sorry you don't like it, Jenness. I feel honored that you read the post anyway...haha!