The Haunted Knocker
by Ryan M. Roberts
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:5, NIV)
Yesterday I finished reading A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. This is the fifth December in a row that I have read this great book. And every time I read it, I discover a new gem in the story and I hear the Holy Spirit speaking to me through its pages.
In the book’s preface Dickens writes,
“I have endeavored in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly.”
My annual reading of “this Ghostly little book” left me with yet another hauntingly pleasant reflection. So, from my house to yours, I humbly and prayerfully share it with you.
At the end of A Christmas Carol Ebenezer Scrooge awakes from his long night of ghostly visitations and realizes the gift of a second chance. He is filled with the joy, hope and love that permeates the message of Christmas, and as he walks out of his house into his “new life,” the knocker on his front door catches his eye. This “haunted” knocker is where his entire nightmare started, beginning with the apparition of his old partner, Marley (“dead these seven years”) bearing chains of woe and warning, and then followed by the ghosts of Christmas past, Christmas present, and Christmas yet to come.
Scrooge’s night spent with these “spirits” was a gauntlet of fear, shock, struggle, insight, remorse, regret, and ultimately . . . rebirth. He emerged from the dark night of his heart, the tomb of his home and the prison of his self-centeredness a new man. He stepped out into the light and life of Christmas morning changed for good.
As Scrooge walks out of his house Dickens writes,
“. . . the knocker caught his eye. “I shall love it, as long as I live!” cried Scrooge, patting it with his hand.”
I read these lines and tears sprang to my eyes, for I knew what Scrooge was feeling.
God is greater than evil. He can and does work through the struggle, pain, failure, grief and remorse in our lives, and He brings from it good. The “rest of the story” of Christmas is the truth that nothing can stop God, not even death. The baby Jesus, born in a manger is also the resurrection and the life!
Two years ago I was seriously ill. I was struggling in my heart and mind, sick in body and fighting for my life. The doctors were stumped, I was drowning in disappointment and losing the battle. But, by God’s grace and mercy I was miraculously helped and healed.
As I look back on that “haunted door-knocker” experience in my life—that season of fear, pain, struggle, doubt and darkness—I can see God’s hand of help, faithfulness and love in and through it all. God used it for good and drew my heart closer to Him. In retrospect, I see the light of Jesus piercing the darkness of that difficult time, and I, along with Ebenezer Scrooge proclaim, “I shall love it, as long as I live!”
Life is hard and full of troubles. I don’t understand it all, but I do know that God is ever working in and through all things for good. He is the source of help, hope, life and love—and at the center of it all is Jesus Christ.
This Christmas, thanks to Charles Dickens and the Holy Spirit, I am “haunted” by the goodness of God. May you be “haunted” by the goodness of God too.
P.S. Speaking of door knockers, consider this from Jesus, the true Spirit of Christmas: He says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” (Revelation 3:20, NIV)