Choir Notes

A Note of Hope
From Music and the Spoken Word
Delivered By: Lloyd D. Newell

As its name suggests, Charles Dickens’s classic tale A Christmas Carol was written primarily for the Christmas season. However, its timeless message is fitting for any season of the year.

In the story, miserly old Ebenezer Scrooge, through a series of ghostly visitations, comes to realize how selfish he has been, and miraculously, his heart begins to soften and change. He is transformed into a generous, cheerful soul. The heartwarming story of Scrooge resonates so powerfully because it reminds us of the truth that anyone can change for the better.

But when we hear the word scrooge, what do we think of? We probably think of a “miserly person”—that’s even the way the dictionary defines it. We probably don’t think of “a person who was once miserly but who, when given a second chance, chose to reform his life and share his wealth with those less fortunate.” Everyone knows how wonderfully Scrooge’s story ends, but his name has forever entered our consciousness (and our dictionary) as the embodiment of what he once was—not what he ultimately became.

It’s a question worth considering: Do we sometimes define people in terms of who they have been rather than who they are or who they can become? Do we let people begin again and change over time, or do we lock people into their past? The past must never be allowed to hold the future hostage. Just as Scrooge changed, we too must celebrate every effort—including our own—to start anew and change for the better.

In the musical that bears his name, Scrooge sings of the opportunity for a second chance:
I will start anew,
I will make amends,
And I will make quite certain
That the story ends
On a note of hope. 

Let us always remember that everyone’s life story—no matter how it began or how it’s going right now—has the potential to end on a note of hope.

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