Most people don't realize Charles Dickens has a biblical foundation. Each of the spirits that appear in A Christmas Carol directly correlates with an Advent lesson that is found in the Church of England's Book of Common Prayer. Perhaps that is what attracts Christians to the story of A Christmas Carol. Every Advent Christians revisit this old Victorian moral story with its images of snow covered English cobblestone streets, the sentimentally portrayed ragged poor, and its familiar story line doesn't seem to grow tiresome through the years. We revisit this story because it echoes with the ancient lessons of Advent. Hearing the Gospel Through Charles Dickens's "A Christmas Carol" is a Christian devotional that uses A Christmas Carol as a tool to teach the ancient Advent lessons of Hope, Faith, Peace, Love and Joy. Each week's devotion begins with a section from A Christmas Carol which dramatizes the Advent Lesson and is followed with a scriptural Advent lesson from the Church of England's Book of Prayer. The word Ebenezer is defined in scripture as "The Lord is my help" (1 Samuel 7:1-2). As we travel through Ebenezer's redemptive healing journey, the devotional invites the participants to examine how Christ is born in their past, present and future. As a Christian pastor, I am grieved that the modern evangelical church has diminished the Advent season to a single Christmas Eve service or Christmas Sunday service. As a community, we no longer spend time preparing our hearts for the season of "Christ coming." This devotional is for Christians to use as private and family devotions to prepare themselves for the Advent season.
About the Author: Reverend Cheryl A. Kincaid is an ordained minister with the Presbyterian Church, USA. She studied Marriage and Family Therapy at Bethel Seminary and later completed her Master's of Divinity at San Francisco Theological Seminary. Ordained in 2003, she is currently the pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Clifton in New Jersey, USA.