In the great holiday classic by Dickens, A Christmas Carol, Scrooge has a visitation with three spirits, the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future. For Scrooge, a miserly man with no friends who will not even extend a Christmas greeting to his only living family member, his present life is bleak and lonely. Only his Christmas past seems pleasant. He was a different person then, full of hopes and dreams and laughter, until he allowed disappointment to embitter him and money to become his god.
Sometimes our past may seem an easier place to stay: when we were young and hopeful or slimmer or wealthier, when our children ran to the Christmas tree in their footed pj’s, when loved ones were around our dinner table, instead of empty chairs.
We recently watched old videos of Christmases 15 to 20 years ago, to introduce our son’s fiancée to our Christmas past. It was hilarious and sweet and also poignant as the camera captured moments with family members who no longer occupy those chairs.
But the point of the Christmas Carol, I think, is to jolt us to our present, even if sadness is present, and to recognize that we can choose the light of the living. We are alive and while we are still breathing, there is hope and more life to come!
Evil in the hearts of men is real. But the power of God to transform hearts and lives is just as real and has the victory over the dark things people do. Yesterday, not 15 miles from our home, another person chose to plot and kill the innocent. Families grieve the loss of brave firefighters today, because of a man blinded by his own fury and his choice to commit evil.
But his darkness does not have power over God’s goodness and hope. “There is no darkness in our hearts that God is not willing to walk into, shining the light of love and compassion and solidarity with our human condition. There is no sorrow that God does not share. And there is no place any of us can go, including the grave, that Christ has not entered first, hallowing, blessing, and filling all of it with the grace of God.” Rev. Kit Carlson.
Remember, our Message is not about ourselves; we’re proclaiming Jesus Christ, the Master. All we are is messengers, errand runners from Jesus for you. It started when God said, “Light up the darkness!” and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful. 2 Corinthians 4:6.