Pastor Jean Newell, Sun Lakes United Methodist Church
What is it about this time of year that makes one reflective? Is it the sight of children waiting in line to talk to Santa? Or is it the sound of carols playing overhead in a store? The smell of pies baking in the oven? Maybe it’s the thought of seeing friends and family whom you haven’t seen for much too long. Maybe it’s because this year seems to fly by, and then again, maybe it’s because the new year is almost upon us. Whatever the reason, more than likely we find ourselves pausing to reflect on life, on where we are in life, on what we have done and what we have yet to do.
For Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ immortal story, A Christmas Carol, his time of reflection was thrust upon him late one Christmas Eve. As the story goes, Scrooge was visited that night by three ghosts, the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. Throughout the long night as each ghost came and went, Scrooge traveled through time, reflecting on the twists and turns in life that had turned him into a self-centered, bitter old man. It was when faced with his own mortality that Scrooge, on bended knee, cried out to the third ghost, “Why show me this, if I am past all hope?” and then begged, “Assure me that I yet may change these shadows you have shown me, by an altered life! I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”
Dickens’ story about ghosts traveling through time and a changed life carries with it the essence of the Christmas message, to “honor Christmas [in our hearts] and try to keep it all the year.” Truly, Christmas comes but once a year, but the love that surrounds Christmas is the love that is to be shared each and every day throughout the whole year.
In the days and weeks to come, let us not only reflect on what was, what is and what will be, but let us be like Scrooge and not waste another moment. Let us reach out and share with all we encounter the love of Christmas … the love of the Christ Child! v