If you asked my students, they would tell you it’s typecasting…
I get to play the role of Ebenezer Scrooge at LifeHouse, the theater my family has sort of made our second home. I am stepping into the show for the final weekend of its run, as the main Scrooge is unavailable. I am pleased to say that I was their top choice for the part after they were turned down by everyone else they asked.
Well, now, that’s not quite true…
Actually, yeah, it kinda is.
No matter—they are trusting me with the job, and I am doing my best not to listen to any regrets they may voice.
I haven’t played a role this large since high school, and, frankly, it’s got me a little spooked. (Get it…A Christmas Carol…spirits…spooked—I don’t want you to miss anything.) As with so many things, I am finding out that this is sort of a microcosm of my life. Consider:
- I had to step up and accept a challenge that seemed to be (and may well prove to be—we’ll find out in a few days) too big for me.
- Having done so, I now have to realize that there are people depending on me. I can’t suddenly back out—I’m committed to this, even if I didn’t read the script or realize all that was involved beforehand.
- I can’t do a halfway job or give “meh” effort. There are other actors in this show who need me to do my best so that they can do their best.
- I have to listen to the writer and the director. It’s their vision. They are concerned with the big picture, orchestrating all the parts so that there is a consistent message to the show.
In short, I need to remember that though this blog is often about me, the show never is.
In fact, with just a few modifications, the above list would fit a blog about being a husband or father.
Ebenezer Scrooge has sort of dominated my thoughts for the past weeks, as you may well imagine. But there is another character that has been working on me for the last couple of days.
A few nights ago, my family enjoyed a thoroughly politically incorrect evening. Having purchased a murdered fir tree—thus depleting vital oxygen from the atmosphere—and festooning it with lights and baubles in a gaudy display of middle-class affluence, we sat down before the fireplace—more dead trees…massive greenhouse gasses—and ingested gluten-gorged peppermint scones with lactose-laden cocoa, all while watching It’s a Wonderful Life, a film with gross stereotypes of both African Americans and immigrants, not to mention positive references to God.
It was great.
As I watched Jimmy Stewart being wonderful, I was struck by the similarities between the two stories. It had never occurred to me before, but although Scrooge is a jerk and George is a stand-up guy, the theme of the two films is very much the same.
A life matters.
Think about it. Both men receive a supernatural gift from God. They get to step outside their lives and observe. They witness the results of choices they have made and the impact that they have had on others. They are shown the truth of who they are and how they have touched their world. For good or for ill, their lives have mattered.
But God doesn’t leave them there. He restores them to their lives, giving them the chance to take this new awareness with them. George can continue to be a great guy, but knowing that his sacrifices serve a greater good. Scrooge has the opportunity to make a change—a great many changes, actually. He can choose to use his vast material wealth to make investments in a Heavenly kingdom.
Spoiler alert—he does.
Your life is not a movie. A circus, perhaps, but not a movie. Still, it has a theme, and here it is.
Your life matters.
It matters in ways you may never understand and to people you may never meet.
It matters to the people who love you and are depending on you.
It matters to the God who formed you, breathed life into you, and sent his son to make you his forever.