“Spirit!” said Scrooge in a broken voice, “remove me from this place.”
“I told you these were shadows of the things that have been,” said the Ghost. “That they are what they are, do not blame me!” Charles Dickens – “A Christmas Carol”
Charles Dickens conveys the message from the Ghost of Christmas Past by taking Scrooge on a dreamlike trip into those early days of his life. Scrooge was ambitious and spent the greater part of his young life climbing the ladder of success. He became a shrewd, miserly business man but lost the love that could’ve changed his current bitterness into joy. In his quest for power, he lost the only true love of his life..
Have you ever dreamed about Christmases the way they should be – the way you wanted them to be – the way they actually were? My recollections of Christmas as a child were much different than today. Of course the centerpiece of the entire holiday was and still is Jesus, but often I passed over that greatest gift. I concerned myself with the material gifts wrapped and set under the tree. I loved the music, the festivities, the special treats, the rustling of my red and black taffeta dress.
I remember family gatherings, where we’d all pile in my uncle’s car. We didn’t own a car until I turned sixteen. Two families of four would squish into that gigantic, spanking. new Buick and travel 75 miles to another relative’s for lots of laughter and hugging. My uncle puffed on a cigar as dad smoked several cigarettes, – the windows were closed and the heater gushed warmth. – I usually wound up car sick. We didn’t wear seat belts. Kids sat on each others’ laps. We were dressed for winter and stuffed into a weapon of mass destruction.
I recall Christmases when we were starting our own little family. When they were toddlers, we had to resort to homemade gifts and a few inexpensive things from the store. They seemed to enjoy the gifts we made most. Paul crafted a lovely rocking horse for our daughter one year. She was so excited to jump up on that dapple grey pony. The joy on her face said it all.
There was the Christmas that we had absolutely no extra cash for gifts and Paul received a bonus – he was the only one who did. A kind fellow worker owned a cattle ranch and gave us a large package of beef. These deeds were considered not merely acts of kindness. but miracles from God which got us through some difficult times.
Later in life, we celebrated Christmas in our soon to be foreclosed upon dream house. Thoughts returned our Savior, Jesus. We knew He was the reason for the season. We also had faith that all the pieces of our lives were being made into a beautiful mosaic by the Creator of the universe.
We cannot go back and change the past. It’s over and gone, but we can learn so much by remembering those times – recalling the treasured moments. The monetary things will soon be forgotten, but the child in the manger will live forever. So will we, if we have faith in His promises.