One of the top stories and/or movies I could hear or see over and over again is A Christmas Carol (The Scrooge). In fact, I have it on DVD and every Christmas pull it out and watch the Patrick Stewart version to my utter delight.

Why do I like it so much? The many lessons it teaches. It speaks to reflection, consideration of others, the proper place of money in our lives, second chances, transformations, supernatural intervention, and a changed perspective. 

The story starts off with a man who totally does not get life anymore, but had a distant history of an appreciation of it. Now that the root of many evils - money - is ruler of his every breath, there is no space for any other kind of relationship. 

This is what I desire to bring to the table today - what will you live with and what will you die with? Hopefully it will be relationships. Put another way - who will you live with and who will you die with? Because life is all about relationships.

The Scrooge had gotten to the point where he burned all his "bridges" or relationships. All he had in life were associations. Ebenezer had no relationships of real depth, weight or value - besides that which brought him coin. Jesus said, "where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:21). For Ebenezer Scrooge his treasure and heart were "Grinch-like" - always concerned about himself and his greed. Notice what this did to both Scrooge and the Grinch - it alienated them; made them hermits; created them as people who lived alone.

We are here on this earth for such a short time. Humanity's lifespan is but a blink and then we are either in the direct presence of The Savior or a place of judgment and pain. James says it this way - "Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." (James 4:14) 

So, my encouragement to you today is to surround yourself with people who care, are considerate and value your relationship with them. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says, "Two people are better than one because together they have a good reward for their hard work. If one falls, the other can help his friend get up. But how tragic it is for the one who is all alone when he falls. There is no one to help him get up."

Be very selective in the choosing process of your friends. Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 15:33 - "Do not be misled: 'Bad company corrupts good character.'" And Paul even goes on to warn us about the false believers - "Now, what I meant was that you should not associate with people who call themselves brothers or sisters in the Christian faith but live in sexual sin, are greedy, worship false gods, use abusive language, get drunk, or are dishonest. Don’t eat with such people." (1 Cor. 5:11) And before Paul, Solomon in his Proverbs stated - "Do not be a friend of one who has a bad temper, and never keep company with a hothead, or you will learn his ways and set a trap for yourself." (Prov. 22:24-25)

As Red says in "Shawshank Redemption" - "Get busy livin' or get busy dyin'." - I hope you choose living and living with a great host of friends and family. Remember, family does not always have to be blood-related. I sincerely hope the core support group in your life is a positive anchor for now and when you face your last hours on this earth. If you don't already have this security and comfort like Ebenezer and the Grinch eventually did, I hope in a short while you will have by your side Those You Live And Die With.