Tiny Tim – no, not the talentless twit from the 60s who sang of tiptoeing through the tulips – knew a lot about Christmas. Of course, the Tiny Tim I’m talking about lived in the pages of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” Tiny Tim, he of the teeny crutch, knew what Christmas was all about.
We’re all familiar with the storyline in “A Christmas Carol.” You’ve seen the school plays, the serious renditions, the comedic updates, even the Muppets, acting out this telling tale of Christmases lost and recovered. There’s Ebeneezer Scrooge, the namesake of all that is wrong with the commercialization of Christmas. There’s Bob Cratchet, perhaps most famously portrayed by Kermit the Frog, who tries so desperately to remain faithful to the meaning of Christmas, his family, and his heartless employer. Of course, we must remember the troika of ghosts, those spirited keepers of Scrooge’s storied past.
In the end, though, Tiny Tim is the theological hero of “A Christmas Carol.” Tiny Tim, who plays such a small role in the story, had the best part. He had the best line. Tiny Tim had the best understanding of the true meaning of Christmas.
In the final scene of this great Christmas classic, we find the newborn Scrooge, a Scrooge who’s seen the future and doesn’t like what it holds for his cold heart: a cold grave. Like a football player cut on the first day of training camp but called back when the hero goes down with an injury, the repentant Scrooge seeks to make the most of his second chance. He traverses town on Christmas day with a large goose in hand. Upon arriving at the Cratchet’s sober little home, Scrooge is drawn into their happy little world. There at the Christmas table, with Scrooge’s goose cooked, Tiny Tim lays the theological golden egg.
Asked to offer up the family prayer, Tiny Tim utters the five most unforgettable words of the entire drama: “God bless us, every one.”
We’re never told of the Cratchets’ spiritual background, but it is clear that Tiny Tim understood better than even old Scrooge the true meaning of Christmas. With the vocabulary of a young lad, Tiny Tim accurately paraphrased the grand truth of Christmas as exclaimed by the angels 2000 years ago.
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased” (Luke 2:14, NASB).
Christmas is not about some great goose. Nor is it about the great goose chase of seeking that final must-have gift. It’s not about time off from work. It’s not even about spending the day with family. As Scrooge came to realize, those things are all wonderful, but they’re not the point. God’s blessing of fallen humanity with the means of their salvation, Jesus Christ, that’s what Christmas is all about.
Let’s covenant with one another and God that we won’t let that truth slip from our minds this Christmas. Let’s decide, right here and now, that we won’t forget what He has done on our behalf, the priceless gift He has offered us in His Son. Let’s rejoice at the peace that Christ brings to those who call upon His name. Let’s join a different kind of crowd this winter, one composed of angels, as they sing God’s praises. Let’s pray the prayer of our fictional hero: “God bless us, every one.”