Today I took my family to the Alabama Shakespeare Festival to see the play "A Christmas Carol" for my "first."
The Shakespeare festival is a member of the League of Resident Theatres. I am not sure what that means (I got it from the play booklet they gave us). It must mean something like a place where they put on really good plays. Several friends have mentioned to me since I've moved here that it is an excellent place to go see a live play and worth the drive to Montgomery. They were absolutely right. The actors, production, stage, and everything else was really top-notch.
A friend of mine told me that he had taken his family to see "A Christmas Carol" and he said it was superb. I thought about it and decided this would be an excellent "first" especially right here at Christmas. Laura needed to do some out of town shopping and both children got out of school early so off we went for a special evening of fun.
I decided not to tell them where we were going. This was a special splurge for us. So, I told them we were going to do something extra special tonight after some Christmas shopping. They had fun trying to figure out what we were doing. As we pulled up, they saw the big Christmas tree out front and thought we were headed to a drive through Christmas light display. It turned out much better than that. I was following Siri's directions and when she said, "Your destination, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, is on the right" Laura's face was classic. I would love to have a picture of that moment. Neither of the children knew what that was but after just a minute of explaining they caught on.
I knew Laura would love it. I was hoping both Hannah Grace and Joel would and they did. As soon as it was over, Joel said, "That was awesome." Hannah Grace said, "That's one of the best things we've ever done." They both agreed this was probably their favorite "first." We talked a bit about the meaning of the play on the way home which I enjoyed as well.
The story of "A Christmas Carol" is a classic. Ebenezer Scrooge is a money loving man who's heart and joy have shriveled up. Upon getting a glimpse of what his life has been like and the dreadful eternity that awaited him, he has a change of heart and begins to love people and his joy returns. There is a theme of redemption and new beginnings here that is decidedly Christian. While he turns around from a decision on his own instead of an encounter with Jesus Christ, there is still much about the story that rings true to the Christian message.
One thing that stood out to me is what while there were not a bunch of overt sentences about repenting of sin and trusting in Jesus for salvation, most of the songs were Christian carols. There were songs like God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen and Hark! The Herald Angels Sing. One line that I heard them sing that I love from Charles Wesley's hymn goes like this, "Born to raise the sons of earth, born to give them second birth." That song being sung reminded me that Jesus was born to bring redemption. Thank God that because He was born I can be born again.
I don't know if Mr. Dickens was a follower of Jesus or not (never have read or heard anything about that). It's obvious that he was influenced by the Christian message. May we all not only be influenced by the Christian message, but drawn to worship Christ the Lord this Christmas season.
Rejoicing that the abundant life included Christmas,
3 things I thank God for today
1. The joy on our children's faces tonight
2. That Laura and I decided to go to Montgomery even though we both felt bad with head colds
3. Charles Wesley and his hymn writing