Deck the halls and jingle the bells! Folks, we are just a few weeks from celebrating Christmas!
If you are like me, every year I declare that this is going to be the “best Christmas ever!” And then the hustle and the bustle sneak in and steal my joy. As I thought about what I could do to ensure that this pattern doesn’t take over once again, I remembered the life lessons of Ebenezer Scrooge.
Mr. Scrooge exemplified the worst in all of us – particularly at Christmas when our hearts should be focused on love, kindness, and gratitude for the Lord’s goodness in our lives.
Three visitors turned his life around by giving him a glimpse into his past, his present and his potential future. Perhaps if we do the same this Christmas, we too can capture the secrets to keeping our Christmas joy.
The Past –
If Tiny Tim taught us nothing else, it’s that the smallest things can mean the most. The very smell of hot chocolate takes me back to 1976 as I eagerly awaited my much-asked-for Miss Piggy doll from Santa. Christmas morning, my mom made sure we each had our own cup of steaming hot chocolate, and some years she would add a stick of peppermint to spice it up a little. One mug of cocoa may not seem like much, but it is still one of my fondest memories of Christmas and my mother’s sacrificial love.
For my children, taking out Christmas cookies to people who have to work on December 25th is what they will always remember. It’s a small thing done with great love that reminds us that not everyone has the luxury of spending their morning in PJs by the fireplace.
Our memories, the ones we pass on and the new ones we create, keep us connected to the ones with whom we shared them and the true meaning of Christmas.
This year, take a second and recount what “little thing” from the past meant the most to you. Ask your children what “little thing” about their Christmases past they treasure and make sure the seasonal stressors don’t bully you into forfeiting those sacred moments.
The Present –
Scrooge’s nephew, Fred understood better than anyone how to make every moment count. He begged his uncle to let the scales fall off his eyes and enjoy the blessings of love and family. We have that same choice. The Lord invites us to “let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts…and be thankful.”
It’s so easy to be distracted this time of year by demands placed on us by the world or our own unrealistic expectations.
We need to:
Take a deep breath.
Hug on our kids.
Bake some cookies – even if they are good old slice and bake.
Remember, this is your life, and your little ones will only be this age once. The rest of the world can wait.
The Future –
Jacob Marley, Scrooge’s former business partner, in all his tattered grave clothes wasn’t nearly as frightening as Ebenezer’s glimpse into the Christmases yet to come. All that awaited him in his final days were misery and isolation. The Lord has no such wish for us.
This Christmas, our gift from our Father is to envision the future – here on Earth and in heaven.
Dream of what lies ahead.
Health for those who need healing.
Justice for those who’ve been marginalized.
Release for those who’ve been bound.
The secret’s out – Over two thousand years ago, our Savior wrapped the past, present, and future in His swaddling clothes lying in that manager. He walked among us and offered His life as our greatest gift. What more could we ask for?
Seeking His Joy,
Denise C. McDowell