A classic Christmas, remade many times in the movies, is Charles Dickens‘ “A Christmas Carol.” Just in case you have never heard of it, “A Christmas Carol” tells the story of Ebeneezer Scrooge, a miserable miser. He is visited by three ghosts, the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present, and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. These visits change his life and help him to celebrate Christmas in its true spirit. It is a great story and one we should all pay attention to, because we are all visited by Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Yet to Come.
I am visited by Christmas Past every year as I try to keep alive traditions that are important to me. From Christmas cookies to Christmas cards to Christmas Eve services. When the family gathers for Christmas, we are surrounded by the love shared over years together. And we can’t have a family gathering without remembering those who are no longer with us. We don’t remember the food or the gifts. We remember the people and their place in our hearts.
When we gather for Christmas Present, even if it is just Tom and I, we remember the present joy of Christ in our hearts. We remember the gift that God gave us at Christmas, coming down to earth in such lowly circumstances. Demonstrating the greatness of his love. We say yes, like Mary and promise to care for Jesus in our hearts, like Joseph. We stand with the shepherds and hear echoes of the angels in the carols, in the silence, in the laughter.
Each year at Christmas Present, we are also shaping Christmas Yet to Come. Who will join our family in the years to come? How will we welcome them? How many more years – how many more gatherings – can we share with the family so precious to us? Can we grow even closer to Christ in our hearts and homes?
Have a very blessed Christmas no matter how you celebrate it. May Christmas Past help you keep Christmas Present and shape your love of Jesus in Christmas Yet to Come.