Jesus, Our Ebenezer

My favorite Christmas movie of all time is The Muppet Christmas Carol. Call me a loser, but I love this version of the classic tale. It’s the same story as always, just with the Muppets… and Michael Cain. As with any Christmas Carol, it ends with Ebenezer Scrooge becoming a nice guy after being scared out of his cruelty by three spirits. He saves the family, becomes a second father to Tiny Tim, and is reconciled to his nephew. Truly heart warming.

The problem with the story of the Christmas Carol is the religious moralism that is portrayed throughout. Scrooge repents of his behavior out of fear, yes he becomes a better person and benefits the welfare of many, but he does so solely because of fear, not because of his love for Christ.

Another Stone of Help

Ebenezer Scrooge is a “sinner turned saint” who comes to change his reputation and glorify the Christmas Spirit. But there is a better Ebenezer alluded to in 1 Samuel 7.12:

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen and called its name Ebenezer; for he said, “Till now the LORD has helped us.”

Israel was moving from the time of the Judges (with Samuel being the last one) to the time of the Kings. God had rescued them time and time again throughout their brief history, and He wasn’t finished. This passage follows a great victory against the Philistines where God had fought on Israel’s behalf. Israel was to remember the Lord whenever they looked at this stone and be reminded of his faithfulness. However, this stone was not the last one to be labeled a stone of help for Israel.

Jesus, our true and better

Jesus is the better stone of help. He is the head of the body, the Church, and the one in which all things have their being. He is the stone rejected by men because of his claims to deity, but the cornerstone, the author and finisher of our faith. God has set up Jesus as the one we can put our trust in. He is the one we can look to by looking at Jesus we can remember who the Lord is and how he has helped us. Don’t stumble on this stone, instead lean on him and rest in him. Our religiousness won’t bring us peace, being scared into obedience won’t bring us peace, only Christ, our true Ebenezer, will deliver to us lasting peace that surpasses all understanding.

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