Dear OCUUC Community-
Our December 2011 worship theme at OCUUC is world religions. Here is my Time For All Ages presentation that compares Unitarian Charles Dickens‘ A Christmas Carol and the Buddhist Four Noble Truths. Dickensians around the globe will celebrate his 200th birthday in February 2012.
Happy Holidays to All!
Rayna Hamre, OCUUC Director of Religious Education
Once upon a time there was a man named Ebenezer Scrooge. He has become famous, many of the grown ups know his story. He loved money more than anything. His business partner dies, and his partner comes back as a ghost on Christmas Eve. I always want to say Bob Marley, but it was Jacob Marley. He warns Ebenezer that he will be visited by three ghosts before the night is over, the Spirit of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Future.
The Spirits do come and visit Ebenezer, and give him a good scare. The Spirit of Christmas Past shows him the person he used to be, that he used to be able to have fun and was in love with a girl, but his love of money became more important. The Spirit of Christmas Present takes him to his nephew’s, where hears how the others see him, that he is mean and only thinks of himself and his money.
The last Spirit, who shows him the future that might be, takes him to see the family of the man who works for him, Bob Cratchit. He has a little boy named Tiny Tim, who will die because his family is poor and not able to take care of him. Ebenezer sees his own death which really scares him.
After he wakes up in the morning he is very different. He realizes that we should be good to each other, that to take care of each other and to be kind is the most important thing. He tries to make all of his family and those who work for him happy. He learned an important lesson.
Rev. Ed has talked about a religion from Asia, it is called Buddhism. I saw some of the important things in Buddhism in this story. The Buddha told everyone what are called the Four Noble Truths. Charles Dickens lived at a time when many people suffered, and that is the first noble truth, that everyone suffers. Rich people, poor people, everyone suffers.
The second noble truth is that the cause of everyone’s suffering can be known and understood. Good news for all of us, and Ebenezer was able to find out what was caused his suffering in the story. He was greedy, he only loved money, he tried to keep everything he had for himself, and he never shared anything.
The third noble truth talks about greed, that is the way that all of us try to hold on to the good things in our lives, and worry if we will not be able to do that. It makes us unhappy that everything changes, that things never stay the same, and we worry about that and try to hold on to things and people. It can make us mean and crabby with ourselves and with others.
The fourth noble truth tells us how to live to have a happy life. We need to do what Ebenezer did, share what we have and expect things to change all the time. We can be happy if we accept that things are always changing and don’t expect them to stay the same, if we can let things change. We have to see that all the things we own can go away and even our feelings or other people’s feelings can change, and that all the changes are okay. We shouldn’t expect to keep everything forever. If we see that, it sets us free, and we can open up our hearts and stop worrying. Then we are free to love ourselves and each other.
Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.