The Wisdom of the Crippled Tiny Tim
Each year our family enjoys watching Charles Dicken’s story, AChristmas Carol: A Ghost Story of Christmas, in movie form.It is a uniquely Christmas story, well-known and emotional as curmudgeonly Ebeneezer Scrooge views the assessment of his life from the perspective of three angels. Set in Victorian London, where crime, poverty, and pollution were rampant, the story contrasts the blindness of greed in Scrooge and the clarity of honest, humble living in the Cratchit family. The underlying themes of sin and redemption are present – as Scrooge’s life is redeemed as he repents (turns around) and becomes a new man.
But how does this repentance occur? Dickens wrote the wisdom of the answer in a simple sentence from the mouth of the least of his characters. As Scrooge is escorted by the angel of Christmas Present to his employee’s home, Bob Cratchit, he observes Bob arriving home from the church to be greeted by his family. In threadbare clothes, he carried his youngest son, Tiny Tim, on his shoulder.
Dickens introduces the disabled boy: “Alas for Tiny Tim, he bore a little crutch and had his limbs supported by an iron frame!”
After some family frivolity, we hear a private conversation:
“And how did little Tim behave?” asked Mrs. Cratchit when she had rallied Bob on his credulity, and Bob had hugged his daughter to his heart’s content.
“As good as gold,” said Bob, “and better. Somehow he gets thoughtful, sitting by himself so much, and thinks the strangest things you ever heard. He told me, coming home, that he hoped the people saw him in the church because he was a cripple, and it might be pleasant to them to remember upon Christmas Day, who made lame beggars walk, and blind men see.”
And there is the wisdom of the small boy – he hoped that his disability would cause people to remember the great healer – Jesus of Nazareth. Dickens realized that disabled people often get “thoughtful” – reflective on the serious things of life and death, of walking and never walking. And in this reflection, Tiny Tim hoped that his disability would cause people to reflect on Jesus Christ.
Here is the wisdom of a serious young boy – it is to seek God’s solution for the wretchedness of this world, whether his own physical sickness or Scrooge’s spiritual sickness. The wisdom of Dickens’ young character is that wisdom described in Scripture:
· The boy feared God in reverence, rather than blaming God for his condition (Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.)
· The boy lived humbly in his crippled situation and thought of others (Proverbs 11:2 But with the humble is wisdom)
· He also looked to Jesus – acknowledging his weakness, he sought to use that weakness to point others to the Jesus he trusted.
And so, in less than 100 words, Dickens gave his least character the greatest role in the story – the wisdom to acknowledge the One who is the Light of the world, the One who leads to repentance, and the One who can redeem a man like Scrooge.
And Dickens reminded us of Scrooge’s changed life in the final paragraph of this classic. And of his new life, Dickens closed his book with this: “May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!”
 Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story of Christmas, 1843 Ed., Stave Three, The Second of Three Spirits. Accessed at https://www.gutenberg.org/files/46/46-h/46-h.htm